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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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Noritaka Minami

SPE Member since 2016
Member Chapter: Midwest


Completed in the year 1972 by the architect Kisho Kurokawa, the Nakagin Capsule Tower stands today as one of the few proposals realized by an avant-garde architectural movement called Metabolism from the 1960s. As a building attached with 140 removable apartment units, the Nakagin Capsule Tower embodies the future of urban living as envisioned by Kurokawa at that moment in postwar Japan. Furthermore, it is a reminder of a future that was never realized in society at large and exists as an architectural anachronism within the city. Despite Kurokawa’s plan to mass-produce the capsules, this structure became one of a kind in the world. Today, the building faces the threat of demolition to make way for a conventional apartment complex. In my photographic series titled “1972”, I employ the camera to document the capsules as a response to their potential disappearance. My project examines what became of a building that first opened as a radical prototype for a new mode of living in the post-industrial society and how this vision of the future appears in retrospect. The various states of the individual capsules point to the passage of time since the building first opened in 1972 as a showcase for Kurokawa’s vision for the 21st Century.

Facade I

B1004 I

B1004 II

A703 I

A703 II



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