This morning the Sydney Morning Herald contained an obituary of Kisho Kurokawa, the Japanese architect who died on 12 October this year. I find it a sad fact that it’s only when an obituary is published that I can gather together various things of interest about a person. In March 2005 I took some photos of the building in Tokyo which I now know to be Nakagin Capsule Tower.
I had vague memories of the history of the building but put the pictures aside without further investigation. The obituary says that Kurokawa thought that people might keep a capsule in the city for the nights when they attended the opera; but it turned out not to be so. As my pictures show the building is a little decayed and one capsule looks as if it is a storeroom for cardboard boxes.
In addition, as I didn't know anything of Kurokawa, and I didn't associate the Nakagin Capsule with the National Art Centre at Roppongi which opened only this year and which I visited in March.
I first saw the building from the Mori Tower in 2006. It was not open and I didn't know what it was:
Nor was I aware that Kurokawa was the architect of Melbourne Central, built to house a (now closed) branch of the Daimaru department store chain. The conical glass and steel roof over the mall preserves an old shot tower inside the structure itself. The tower was used to make lead shot by dropping molten lead from the top into water at the bottom. The drops of molten lead solidified as they fell forming the required spherical shape due to surface tension apparently.