This exhibition featured 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.
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
Exhibition organized by MAS Context.
Partial funding for this exhibition was provided by the Department of Fine and Performing Arts at Loyola University.
The Editors, “Collages, cyanotypes, and portraits of a fallen Metabolist icon are on view in these must-see winter exhibitions,” Architect’s Newspaper, November 7, 2022.
Stewart Hicks. “Why This Futuristic Megastructure Just Failed,” Architecture with Stewart, November 17, 2022. Video.
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.
Daniel Safarik and Greg Lindsay, “Episode 42: 1972: A Spatial Oddity.” Unfrozen, November 5, 2022. Podcast.