“Nakagin Capsule Tower as Ideal Building” ～Seeking Its Modern Dream～
There was a unique building in Ginza Tokyo; the Nakagin Capsule Tower. As it was named, it looked like cube sugars or something like a space ship. The tower was designed by Japanese famous architecture; Kisho Kurokawa and built in 1972, therefore it became older and leaded to a variety of problems like durability and asbestos-containing building materials.
The building was famous for futuristic building in 1970s and it had historical significance. Therefore, when demolition of the building was begun in April, it prompted a debate and many Japanese mass medias covered the topic. In 1970s, a rapid growth of population by a high economic growth rate caused negative impacts in our living environment and Japan’s metabolism movement in architectural design reached new heights of prosperity. Kurokawa was one of the leaders in the movement which aimed at changing buildings and developing a new concept of cities.
（Figure: The inside of the Nakagin Capsule Tower）
As I mentioned above, the tower was shaped something like capsules. The reason why the building had such a shape was that the capsules was going to be replaced regularly; every 25 years, because the building was designed to be revived and preserved permanently. In other words, the building meant goal of human activities.
However, the capsules of the building had never been replaced because of the technical issues and the building was started to be demolished in 2022. In addition, there were a lot of old buildings which had designed by concept of metabolism. Therefore, its ideal theory was also supposed to be disappeared in these days.
On the other hand, the Japanese government proposes a new definition “Society 5.0”. It means “A human-centered society that balances economic advancement with the resolution of social problems by a system that highly integrates cyberspace and physical space.”
（Figure: The concept of “Society 5.0”）
（Source: Cabinet Office, Government of Japan）
The concept also has “Smart City” strategy which means changing of policies about urban development. “Smart city” try to utilize the rapid development of AI, IoT and solve the urban and regional problem. The strategy also aims at changing the relation between the information society and the physical society; therefore, the concept is supposed to preserve our society and be compatible with urban life. It can be argued that the ideal closely related to metabolism in 1970s because both concepts consider the reform of our living conditions.
In conclusion, the ideal theory in metabolism may survive in these days. While our society try to introduce a “Smart City” strategy, metabolism could be reminded. Although those old buildings designed based on metabolism were demolished due to some negative aspects, the concept will be retained for a long time.
Analyst, Global Intelligence Group (GIG)