Nakagin Capsule Tower
Update 30 April, 2021
Referring to the news in The Asahi Shimbun on 21st April, I would like to share what had happened in the last few months to Nakagin Capsule Tower and the current situations.
Over the years, Nakagin Capsule Tower has been facing a threat of demolition, and sadly its recent situation has gotten worse.
According to the original concept, the capsules of the Nakagin Capsule Tower were to be changed and maintained every 20-25 years, however, none of the capsules were removed after 49years because of its structural problem.
On top of that, there is one more reason that the replacement wasn’t realized.
Each capsule was sold to individual owners, meaning that agreement for the replacement would have to be obtained from 140capsule owners. 100% agreement would be necessary since refurbishment would include not just their capsule but the communal space as well.
Owners are obliged to pay a monthly fee for maintenance, but they would still have had to cover the approximately additional 10 million yen (at 2007 prices) for the exchange of a capsule.
This prohibitively high cost meant it was not possible to obtain agreement from all owners.
Besides, the Nakagin Capsule Tower sits on leased land, with the landowner at the time (Nakagin group) favored a more effective use of the land.
In 2007, it was decided to be redeveloped as studio apartments. Luckily the plan was not realized as the construction company went bankrupt in the 2008 global financial crisis, and redevelopment planning began again from scratch.
In 2018, the Nakagin group which owned 17 capsules, the street-level store, the office on the second floor, the annex building behind, and the plot on which the building stands, sold all proprietary rights to the Japanese investment group CTB CK company.
Nakagin Capsule Tower Preservation and Restoration Project had negotiated with several domestic and overseas firms and funds to save the tower, however, the outbreak of Covid 19 had made it difficult to move on.
CTB pushed forward to purchase the capsules and, as of November 1, 2020, they have acquired the agreement to sell the properties from the owners 80% or more of the voting rights and were trying to complete this purchase to demolish the building.
In Japan, there are two types of land leasing conditions, which are freehold ownership and leasehold ownership. For leasehold ownership, the land is owned by the landlord while the leaseholders seek permission from the landlords to build above the land lots.
For the case of Nakagin Capsule Tower, the landlord is CTB group and the majority of the ownership of the building is owned by the same company.
In Mar 2021, it was resolved to sell the condominium site at the emergency general meeting of the Nakagin Capsule Tower Building Management Association. As a result, all capsule owners will sell the sectional ownership to the management association corporation and eventually to the CTB. The residents will vacate their capsule room around the end of April 2021.
After this news, it seems many people understood as the tower will be gone, especially on SNS.
However, this agreement does not mean that the tower is going to be demolished yet. Nothing has been decided after the residents left the tower, at this stage.
It simply means that the tower will have one owner rather than many like what it used to be from now on. It actually had made it easier for anyone who is willing to purchase the tower from CTB.
What we need is a supportive investor who understands the value of this building to preserve this legacy.
There may not be too much possibility that the tower would survive in Ginza, but we would want to take a chance until it is the end.
If there is anyone, company, funds, who can purchase the entire tower and willing to replace the capsule, the tower will remain.
The Preservation project is not thinking of keeping the building as its resent state. The tower obviously needs proper maintenance and the capsules would need to be exchanged for future use. We are succeeding the concept of metabolism which is “the continuous growth and renewal”.
Kurokawa always said that the concept ought to be fulfilled. Nakagin Capsule Tower is not completed until it metabolizes.
We are hoping to find someone who can understand that this is a legacy that needs to be passed on.
Contact Information to Nakagin Capsule Tower Preservation and Restoration Project.