AN APPEAL FOR HELP IN RESTORING A TOKYO ARCHITECTURAL MASTERPIECE

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Please help us preserve the Nakagin Capsule Tower Building – a world-class architectural masterpiece of Tokyo, as well as an important tourism resource!The Nakagin Capsule Tower Building is in danger of being torn down.


On June 29, 2018 the Nakagin Group, which owned the store on the building's first floor, the second-floor office, 16 capsules and the limited proprietary right of land, sold all of its ownership rights to the CTB Limited Liability Company (the land underneath the building is owned by a joint trust corporation). The two buildings behind the Capsule Tower Building, which had been added later, were bought at the same time, and a report to the board of directors of the building management association stated that the purchasers wanted to carry out redevelopment of the entire building complex.

The capsules’ owners have leaseholds, but at the beginning of August, notifications from the new owner of the land were delivered. The notifications stated that, going forward, authorization would not be granted for transfers of leases. As a result, the capsule owners lost their rights to buy and sell capsules as they wish. There were no discussions held by the land owner with the management association, and due to the unilateral notifications, the Capsule Tower currently is facing risks to its continued existence.

The Nakagin Capsule Tower Building (completed in 1972), designed by the former Kisho Kurokawa, is a representative work of a Japanese architectural movement/concept called “metabolism”. It was built with the idea that by replacing capsules, the building would carry out a form of metabolism; however, in the succeeding 46 years, no capsules were ever replaced.

Thanks to its unique external appearance and concept, the building was highly acclaimed not only in Japan, but also in other nations. It is frequently mentioned in travel guides published abroad, such as Lonely Planet, and often appears in various media - such that it has become a well-established tourist spot visited by many foreign visitors. English guided tours of the capsules operated by Showcase Tokyo are also popular, with approximately 100 people per month participating in them. Furthermore, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Tokyo metropolitan government have included images of the Nakagin Capsule Tower Building in their videos introducing the city abroad.

Content created abroad also often includes images of Nakagin, including in the Hollywood movie The Wolverine: SAMURAI, in the popular American drama HEROES REBORN, and in other works. In addition, as indicated by movie director Francis Ford Coppola, actor Keanu Reeves, and others in the movie industry having visited it in their free time, the building is quite popular with those in the visual arts field. Recently, fashion magazines, music videos, TV commercials, etc., have used the building for their filming, a testament to its further appeal beyond the architectural field.

At the December, 2017 general meeting of the building's management association, The Nakagin Capsule Tower Preservation and Restoration Project got advice from the designer of the current buildings, KISHO KUROKAWA architect & associates and together with bews/building environment workshop first-class registered architect office proposed a plan for capsule replacement. Multiple initial consultations regarding the replacement of capsules were held with the Chuo Ward Urban Development Division, and although issues remain, we received a promising response regarding the possibility of realizing the plan from the relevant authorities.

We earnestly request your kind assistance for the realization of the capsule replacements - thus helping restore “the Nakagin Capsule Tower Building”, a tourism resource which Tokyo can continue to be proud of! 

Thank you very much.

The Nakagin Capsule Tower Preservation and Restoration Project



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