MAS Context Fall Talks 2022


September 22-December 8, 2022

MAS Context Reading Room
1564 North Damen Avenue, Suite 204
Chicago, IL


Mas event 2022 1972 accumulations 01

Facade, 2010. © Noritaka Minami.

This exhibition features all of the capsules documented by Noritaka Minami at the Nakagin Capsule Tower over the course of a decade until the building’s demolition in 2022. Completed in 1972 by the architect Kisho Kurokawa, the Nakagin Capsule Tower was one of the few proposals realized through the architectural movement Metabolism in the 1960s. As a building attached with 140 removable apartment units, it embodied the future of urban living envisioned by Kurokawa at that moment in postwar Japan. Furthermore, the building was a reminder of a future that was never realized in society at large and stood as an architectural anachronism within the city of Tokyo.

Minami’s project examines what became of a building that first opened as a radical prototype for a new mode of living in society and how this vision of the future appears in retrospect. The various states of the capsules point to the passage of time since the building first opened in 1972 as a showcase for Kurokawa’s vision. In this series, some of the capsules retain the original futuristic furnishings. Many other units display a variety of modifications undertaken over the years. There are even spaces that are no longer habitable. Despite being constructed on the logic of standardization, the photographs capture the individuality present in each capsule, accumulated through life that was experienced within each unit through the people who used the space.

Partial funding for this exhibition has been provided by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University.

Visits between September 22 and December 8 by appointment. To book a visit, please send an email to with your preferred date and time.


Thursday, September 22, 2022, 6–8PM
Opening reception with Noritaka Minami

Thursday, October 6, 2022 at 12PM
A Capsule as a House

Lecture by Noritaka Minami and fala

Tuesday, October 25, 2022 at 6PM
The Aesthetic of Transience
Lecture by Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher and Ken Tadashi Oshima

Wednesday, November 16, 2022 at 6PM
Nakagin Capsule Tower: Japanese Metabolist Landmark on the Edge of Destruction

Film screening followed by a Q&A with Noritaka Minami, Naomi Pollock, and John Zukowsky


Grace Ebert, “Photos by Noritaka Minami Document the Famed Nakagin Capsule Tower Prior to Demolition,” Colossal, September 21, 2022.

Christina Petridou, “'1972/accumulations' photo series captures the individuality of nakagin tower's capsules,” designboom, September 22, 2022.

Matt Growcoot, “Photographer’s Decade Long Series on the Iconic Capsule Tower in Tokyo,” PetaPixel, September 28, 2022.

Mas event 2022 1972 accumulations 02

B1004, 2011. © Noritaka Minami.

Mas event 2022 1972 accumulations 03

B702, 2012. © Noritaka Minami.

Mas event 2022 1972 accumulations 04

A503, 2017. © Noritaka Minami.

Mas event 2022 1972 accumulations 05

A905, 2018. © Noritaka Minami.