Farewell Capsule Tower, Tokyo’s Oddest Building

Time for goodbyes

Built 50 years ago during Japan’s economic heyday, the architectural edifice imagined a future that never came.

April 25, 2022
Reed Stevenson - Bloomberg

Anyone who has seen Tokyo's Nakagin Capsule Tower will remember it. Studded with grey cubes, the striking building carries an obvious architectural message: this is a modular habitat.

Built half a century ago during Japan’s dizzying ascent as an economic power, the 140-unit complex has been left behind by the times, overshadowed by taller and sleeker skyscrapers that overlook the city of 14 million.

Once demolition officially starts April 12, scaffolding will surround the two towers that make up the building. The capsules will then be plucked off one by one, most likely behind protective sheets of plastic because they contain asbestos.


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