Arts & Entertainment

People flock to photograph Nakagin tower before demolition

Tokyo, Apr 11 (EFE).- Dozens of people walked Monday, camera in hand, around the iconic Nakagin Capsule tower in Tokyo to immortalize it on the eve of its demolition, expected to last at least until the end of the year.

Several work notices distributed around the building, from the entrance to the complex portal to the white fence installed around the building in February, show the beginning of the dismantling work as of Tuesday.

Pedestrians stopped intermittently in front of the complex, shooting cameras and cell phones at the news of the disappearance of one of the most representative constructions of the architectural movement of metabolism.

“It’s a shame that they threw it away,” one of the people who stopped Monday to photograph the tower, a middle-aged Japanese man who had learned about the demolition some time ago, told EFE.

The Nakagin Capsule tower will remain standing tall in the urban landscape of the Japanese capital for at least another couple of months.

The works, which start Tuesday will focus on a first stage in the removal of asbestos from the lower floors until June, before the demolition of the building itself, several people familiar with the dismantling roadmap told EFE.

It is planned that a crane will be installed where, until a few months ago, an adjacent building of old offices owned by the Nakagin group was located, and where the work of removing debris and conditioning the land continued Monday.

At least one capsule will be removed for conservation, the A606, within the framework of a project headed by the architect Akiko Ishimaru. The cabin of just 10 square meters will be recycled into a rental caravan.

On the other hand, talks continue with museums to preserve several more capsules, according to Tatsuyuki Maeda, of the Nakagin Capsule Tower Preservation and Restoration Project, although nothing has been finalized so far.

The rest of the 140 capsules will be demolished.

“I think it’s a terrible mistake. For the sake of modern construction we end up getting rid of really valuable things,” said Yassmine Eladib, a 27-year-old Moroccan woman living in Japan, who is fond of architecture and went to photograph the building.

The tower “symbolizes a very unique perspective”, Eladib said, that of the metabolist movement in which the building is part, conceived by Kisho Kurokawa (1934-2007), one of the few exponents still standing of the architectural trend.

Nakagin Capsule, completed in 1972 and comprising two connected towers, is made of prefabricated modules or capsules designed as self-contained units that had to be individually removed or replaced every 20 to 25 years.

None of the capsules was ever replaced due to their high cost and technical complexity, and the natural passage of time, among other factors, ended up greatly deteriorating the structure.

Plans to demolish the block date back to 2007, after Kurokawa’s death. The global financial crisis dragged the company that was going to be in charge of it into bankruptcy and the future of the tower remained in the air for more than a decade, until, after several rescue attempts, its demolition was determined for 2022. EFE


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