Kisho Kurokawa and the Metabolists, Paving the Way of Tokyo’s Post-War Architecture

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Max Masquelier


Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower stands out among the surrounding buildings with its peculiar architectural style. The tower and its design were part of the Metabolist architecture movement. The unique design owes to hundreds of individual concrete capsules that are stacked on top of each other. Each capsule can house one person and the capsule itself is intended to be replaced after some time. This was part of the Metabolist idea of ‘living’ which can be associated with Tokyo’s post-war emergence. After the completion of the tower in 1972, the condition of the building has declined. It now stands as a subtle reminder of the influential Metabolist Movement, which was a groundbreaking Japanese architecture movement during Tokyo’s post-war era. As there are efforts to preserve the building, it brings forth notions of the importance of the movement as a whole and what it exactly represents for Tokyo. Kisho Kurokawa, the architect behind the tower, was part of the Metabolist group who were prominent in the 1960s and early 1970s. He played a large part in the movement and used many of the aspects throughout his lengthy career. After the Second World War, Tokyo was decimated, and the post-war years became a critical period in terms of rebuilding. It was exactly during this the time the Metabolists were active.

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