The Nakagin Capsule Tower — a Cyberpunk Place?

The Wired website has published a photo essay on a Japanese capsule hotel from the 1970s (link >>>). Each cuboid in the photo below forms one tiny modular apartment.

The Nakagin Capsule Hotel

The Nakagin Capsule Hotel

This arrangement reminds me of the cyberpunk worlds created in the 1980s and 1990s by authors like William Gibson, Bruce Sterling and Neal Stephenson. Temporary dwellings for the lowlife protagonists of e.g. Mona Lisa Overdrive and Snow Crash would probably look like these.

Furthermore, in a contemporary (and quite post-cyberpunk) milieu, minimalist apartments like these have their particular appeal, at least to me. Having entered middle age, I have come to the insight that material belongings frequently become nothing but burdens (i.e. Snufkin’s wisdom in the Moomin stories). What is important instead? Family, friends and thoughts. So when I can store books electronically in the cybercloud, there will be little need for shelf space.

New York Times wrote a few years ago an article about the architects behind this particular building and its construction and current decay — link >>>.

Interior view of a capsule apartment

Interior view of a capsule apartment

3 thoughts on “The Nakagin Capsule Tower — a Cyberpunk Place?

  1. Wow. It certainly has a certain romance. I’m writing some cyberpunk at the moment and this is great inspiration for scenery. I agree with you in regards to material possessions. The bohemian lifestyle is the most appealing, at least while you’re healthy and independent.

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