Does Destroying a Building Erase History?

The Nakagin Capsule Tower, designed in Tokyo in 1972 as part of the Japanese Metabolism movement in architecture, is facing destruction. Residents of the building have voted to demolish it and replace it with a modern structure.
July 8, 2009, 6am PDT | Tim Halbur
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Nicolai Ouroussoff says the destruction of the Tower would be "a bitter loss", and suggests that demolishing the building would be like erasing history.

"The Capsule Tower is not only gorgeous architecture; like all great buildings, it is the crystallization of a far-reaching cultural ideal. Its existence also stands as a powerful reminder of paths not taken, of the possibility of worlds shaped by different sets of values.

Founded by a loose-knit group of architects at the end of the 1950s, the Metabolist movement sought to create flexible urban models for a rapidly changing society. Floating cities. Cities inspired by oil platforms. Buildings that resembled strands of DNA. Such proposals reflected Japan's transformation from a rural to a modern society."

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Published on Monday, July 6, 2009 in The New York Times
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