A Tokyo apartment building with removable units straight outta The Fifth Element

By on Apr 6th

Apartment hunters, meet the Nakagin Capsule highrise apartment building in Tokyo.

Photo courtesy Arcspace.

The 140-unit apartment building, built in 1972, has fallen into disrepair and faces demolition. It's a tragic building: its innovative design has led to its neglect.

Photo courtesy Arcspace.

Kisho Kurokawa designed the building to be ever-updatable: each apartment is bolted to a central beam so entire units could easily be removed, updated, and replaced over the building's lifetime. They could also be combined into larger units. However, none of the units have been updated since the tower was built, and now residents are fleeing the squalid, cramped halls.

Photo courtesy Arcspace.

The apartments were designed for Tokyo salarymen, traveling into the city each week for work. Their appliances, beds, and bathrooms were specially built.

Photo courtesy Arcspace.

And they look exactly like Bruce Willis' apartment in The Fifth Element.

Courtesy Tokyo Times.

Many residents expand their apartment storage by keeping personal items in the hallways.

Courtesy Tokyo Times.

I hope it can be saved. The concept of the building is intriguing, and I'd love to see it revisited in a contemporary way.

Via Tokyo Times. Read more about the Nakagin tower at Ping Mag and Arcspace.

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About Cat Rocketship

I was the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home for a year and a half. I have a rich Internet life and also a pretty good real life. Hobbies include D&D, Twitter, and working on making our household more self-reliant. I also draw things.