Kisho Kurokawa Architecture

Born: April 8th, 1934

Died: October 12th, 2007 

 

During his time in Kyoto University, Kurokawa worked under Kenzo Tange before establishing his own office.

 

He was part of the "Metabolist Movement" in the 60's and the Nakagin Capsule Tower (Left) is one of his key works.

Kurokawa actually designed the first "Capsule Hotel" which has since then become widespread in Japan.

 

In his later life, he would make frequent appearances on TV and also was involved in politics, unsuccessfully running for Tokyo Governor and the Upper House. 

Works that can be seen in Tokyo:

Nakagin Capsule Tower (1972)

Made up of two towers, there are a total of 140 rooms (or capsules) that are only about 10 square meters. Equipped with a bathroom, they were designed as a "second home in the city" for Tokyo salaryman working long hours and too worn out to make the long commute home. The idea was that capsules could be added or taken out depending on the change in demand, though this has never happened.

More than 45 years after being built, the capsules are starting to show serious decay, and while some of the units have been renovated, and for years all rooms are without hot water, and following an incident when one of the windows fell down into the street, there are now protective netting all around the building.

 

The capsules are near the Hamarikyu Gardens, at 8-16-10 Ginza. 

 

UPDATE: As of April 2021, residents of the capsules have agreed to leave and all but a few units are now empty. A decision on the future of the tower has yet to be announced, but its existence appears to be on borrowed time now.

Japan Nursing Association Building (2004)

In the Omotesando district across from the Omotesando Hills, the building features the glass cone at the entrance that is often seen in Kurokawa's later works. The facade is set back from the main street, allowing for an open space in front of the building.

Location: 5-8-2 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku

The National Arts Center (2007)

The NACT doesn't have any permanent collection, but no matter what is going on, entrance to the building itself is free. Again, you will see gigantic cones everywhere and there are plenty of space to sit down and admire the structure. Unlike other public facilities that close on Mondays, the center takes Tuesdays off. It has extended hours on Fridays, until 8pm.


Works outside Tokyo:

 

The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama (1982)

It might not be worth the 45 minute train ride north to Kita Urawa just to see the exhibits, but in the adjacent park, you can see the actual-sized model of the same capsules used in the Nakagin Capsule Tower. This was the first art museum Kurokawa designed, the National Arts Center was his last.