Kurokawa’s funky, eccentric, space-age Capsule Tower is scheduled to be razed in the near future.  The building’s innovative design gave birth to the thousands of capsule hotels found throughout Japan today, and inspired the increasing number of hip capsule rooms for rent in busy international airports.

In a city so obsessed with style and design, you’d think Tokyo would cry foul at the destruction of yet another landmark building.  You’d be wrong.  While there has been some protest, it looks as though Kurokawa‘s building is going to go the way of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel.

I’ve lived in Tokyo for nearly three years, and in that time I have seen the leveling of at least five old buildings in my neighborhood.  Granted, most of them were two-story wooden houses that looked out of place in the rows of narrow, mid-rise apartment buildings.  But they represented a way of life that is disappearing in Central Tokyo.  In fifty years, do Tokyo’s citizens want to remember their city’s history with a stroll through an old neighborhood or by merely viewing old photographs at an exhibit?

In architecture magazines and guidebooks, I constantly read that Tokyo is an ever-changing, forward-looking metropolis that has little sympathy for older dwellings or inefficient buildings.  I guess this is supposed to be an apology of sorts.  I think it’s a cop-out.

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