Icon of Modern Prefab to be Demolished

Kisho Kurokawa's 1972 Capsule Tower was, along with Moshe Safdie's Habitat in Montreal, the pioneer in modernist multiple unit prefab. 140 capsules were attached by high tension bolts to a central core. Each of the tiny rooms had built in TV's and reel-to-reel tape decks, washrooms and were pre-assembled in a factory then hoisted by crane and fastened to the concrete core shaft.

According to Architectural Record: "It has long been appreciated by architects as a pure expression of the Metabolist movement, popular in the 1960s and 1970s, which envisioned cities formed of modular components. But in recent years residents expressed growing concern over the presence of asbestos. On April 15, the building's management association approved plans calling for the architectural icon to be razed and replaced with a new 14-story tower. A demolition is yet to be determined."

"For his part, Kurokawa has pleaded to let the Capsule Tower express one of its original design qualities: flexibility. He suggested "unplugging" each box and replacing it with an updated unit, letting the base towers —which he calls "timeless"—remain untouched. Japan's four major architectural organizations, including the Japan Institute of Architects, support this scheme. But the building's management remained unconvinced and raised concerns regarding the towers' ability to withstand earthquakes, as well as its inefficient use of valuable land. The new building will increase floor area by 60 percent." ::Architectural Record

and info and pictures from ::Arcspace

UPDATE: Lots more pictures from ::Juergen Specht via (talk about being scooped!) ::we make money not art which covered this last September.

Tags: Demolition | Japan