Nakagin Capsule Tower edging closer to demolition

One of the leading examples of Japan’s metabolist school of architecture – Nakagin Capsule Tower – is inching closer towards a potential fate of demolition after the land under the building recently changed hands.

On June 29, the land underneath the Nakagin Capsule Tower building was sold to CTB GK, a limited liability company established only earlier that month. The sale included the land, the 1st floor retail space, 2nd floor office space, 16 capsules and two buildings behind the Capsule Tower. The seller was Nakagin Group, the developer of the building. The new owner promptly informed the chairperson of the apartment owners association of their intent to redevelop the site. 

Nakagin Capsule Tower to undergo earthquake-resistant inspection

Nakagin Capsule Tower Tokyo

The results of an earthquake-resistant inspection could soon determine the fate of Ginza’s Nakagin Capsule Tower.

At an owner’s association meeting in early December 2015, the majority voted in favour of carrying out an earthquake-resistance inspection to determine the structural integrity of the building. If the building does not meet earthquake codes, the owners will consider demolishing the 44-year old metabolist landmark.

Prices down, yields up in Nakagin Capsule Tower

Prices of ‘capsules’ in the Nakagin Capsule Tower have fallen significantly over the past four years, but rents have remained relatively stable, leading to a boost in rental returns.

In 2008, capsules were priced as high as 6 million Yen each. Now they can be bought for between 2 and 3 million Yen (21,000 ~ 32,000 USD) each. The average monthly maintenance, repair fund and land rent fees (the building is on leasehold land) totals approximately 17,300 Yen for each unit.

Nakagin Capsule Tower Demolition Plans

Nakagin Capsule Tower Tokyo

The management association of the 40 year old Nakagin Capsule Tower in Ginza are moving forward with plans to demolish and rebuild the metabolist structure.

Although no final date has been set, demolition and reconstruction plans have been in the pipeline since 2007. Back in 2005, the architect, Kisho Kurokawa, and Taisei Corporation put forward a plan to replace the aging capsules with new ones. This was in line with Kurokawa’s initial concept for the building, whereby all capsules were designed to be interchangeable and replaceable. However, it seems more likely that it will be replaced with a nondescript building.

Nakagin Capsule on display at Roppongi Hills

As part of Mori Art Museum’s latest exhibition called “Metabolism, The City of the Future”, a Nakagin Capsule is currently on display outside Mori Crosspoint along Roppongi Dori avenue. The capsule is identical to the ones used in the Nakagin Capsule Tower Building in Ginza. View more about the apartment building here. There is also a display capsule at the bottom of the Nakagin Capsule Tower.

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