August 18, 2016

Noritaka Minami: 1972

Photographer Noritaka Minami documents the Nakagin Capsule Tower as it stands today.

A building - the first of its kind - was opened in Tokyo in March 1972. Named the Nakagin Capsule Tower, it was designed by Kisho Kurokawa, the founder of the so-called 'Metabolism' architectural movement in the 1960s. It was a groundbreaking project, marking the 'dawn of the capsule age' - or so people thought. And yet, only forty years later the capsules are empty. The building is disused and set for demolition. The shift from celebration to neglect was a swift one. 

In his series 1972, photographer Noritaka Minami documents the building as it stands today. His images are haunting; buildings are, after all, designed to be lived in, and the empty capsules which populate this project have the people-less feel of a ghost town. The 140 concrete pods which comprise the building are removable, to allow for modifications with the passing of time. Yet they have never been renovated, and the result is a structure which stands virtually empty, a stasis of Seventies architecture. Designed as the ideal home for modern urban living, the building represents a vision of a future which never came, and Minami's pathos-filled photographs perfectly capture this sense of soaring ambition and crushing unfulfillment.

Noritaka Minami

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