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A replica of the Tokyo Nakagin Tower capsules will preside over the Concha bay in San Sebastián during the MUGAK Biennial

  • The installation called Nakagin 1:1” and organized by the Atari association, can be visited from the 22nd of October to the 12th of December.
  • In parallel to this work, there will be lectures and workshops on Japanese architecture and minimal housing.
  • The exhibition about Japanese architecture is one of the most important activities among the hundred ones organised by the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial

Japanese architecture will play an important part in the Basque Country International Architecture Biennial MUGAK (Boundaries, in Basque language), which celebrates its second edition this year with a hundred events aimed at bringing architecture closer to citizenry and exploring its boundaries with art and culture. A replica of the dwellings in the Nakagin Tower of Tokyo will preside over the Concha Bay in San Sebastián, one of the most emblematic spaces of the Basque Country, from the 22nd of October to the 12th of December.

Architect Kisho Kurokawa finished the Nakagin Tower in the Ginza neighbourhood, Tokyo, in 1972. It became a symbol of the metabolist movement, which defends architecture and urban planning as living and changing organisms. The building stands out for its central structure, which incorporates 10-square-meter capsules of eight different types that were transformed into dwellings. New modules can be added and old ones can be recycled or exchanged according to the needs.

In the middle of a debate about small sized dwellings, in a time of proliferation of capsule hotels in Europe, and confronted by the need of adapting housing to a changing society and its needs, MUGAK will display a full-scale replica of a Nakagin Tower dwelling beside the Yacht Club of San Sebastian. 

Despite being 49 years old, this building symbolises many of the open questions of today. Which are the boundaries of mobility in Architecture? Can buildings adapt to the changes in society? How will the future of housing look like? Is minimal housing sustainable? Along with the citizenry and architecture professionals, the organisation of MUGAK wants to reflect further on these questions during the Biennial.

Organised by the Association of Architectural Culture Atari (hall, in Basque language), supported by the Basque Government and the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and promoted by the Embassy of Japan in Spain and the Japan Foundation, the cycle on the Nakagin Tower will offer guided visits to the replica -- Thursdays to Sundays, registration at info@atari.eus required – and screenings of the following documentary films: “Nakagin Capsule Tower: Japanese Metabolist Landmark on the Edge of Destruction”, on the 5th of November, “Kochuu” on the 12th of November and “Kisho Kurokawa:  From Metabolism to Symbiosis”, on the 23rd of November.

Besides, architect Yoshihiko Ito, full professor of the Department of Architecture of the Tokai University, will give a lecture on the 22nd of November and a workshop on the 23rd. about the metabolist movement and the difficulty of preserving this iconic building of the post-war period in Tokyo. In his workshop, he will reflect on minimal spaces in different historical and cultural contexts. Italian architect Antonio Scarponi will give a lecture on the 28th of October and a workshop on the 29th of October about the limits of static environments in architecture.

For their part, the Husos studio will present a lecture on the 30th of October about the housing challenges posed by different social models and the high real estate pressure on cities, suggesting new possible ways of inhabiting. Finally, on the 8th of November, David Ribera will reflect on modern protected heritage and its preservation, given the risk that the Nakagin Tower might be demolished by its owners.

Around a Hundred Activities

"Nakagin 1:1” belongs to a larger programme with exhibitions, lectures and activities that MUGAK will offer between the 10th of October and the 12th of December. Supported by the Department of Environment, Regional Planning and Housing of the Basque Government, the Biennial seeks to bring architecture closer to citizenry and become a meeting point for dialogue, debate and reflection with the aim of shaping better, more balanced and fair cities. Its activities, organised by thirty partner organisations, will take place in the three main cities of the Basque Country and include exhibitions, lectures, film screenings, workshops and guided tours.



The Programme is being prepared