The World’s Smallest Apartments

In Tokyo, where the average price of an apartment is $260,000, space is at a premium.


Kisho Kurokawa, who was one of the leading members of an influential architectural movement in the 1960s called Metabolism, designed and built  the Nakagin Capsule Tower to address some of these space concerns.

Each capsule measures 2.3 m (7.5 ft) × 3.8 m (12 ft) × 2.1 m (6.9 ft) and functions as a small living or office space.

The building was the world’s first example of capsule architecture built for actual use. The building was still in use as of 2010, but has fallen into disrepair. As of October 2012, around thirty of the 140 capsules remained in use as apartments, while others were used for storage or office space, or simply abandoned and allowed to deteriorate.

Today, the building faces the threat of demolition to make way for a conventional apartment complex.


“The original target demographic were bachelor salarymen (white-collar workers). The compact apartments included a wall of appliances and cabinets built into one side, including a kitchen stove, a refrigerator, a television set, and a reel-to-reel tape deck. A bathroom unit, about the size of an aircraft lavatory, is set into an opposite corner. A large circular window over a bed dominates the far end of the room.” (Wikipedia)

You can see more pictures of the capsule dwellings at Miiniim.

Obviously such arrangements would not be suitable for everyone, but people have different needs and philosophies; many people in the US are exploring the options of living in small apartments or tiny houses in order to make ends meet. Some of these small living arrangements are convenient and attractive. I wouldn’t mind downsizing, but I have no idea where I’d put all my books…

The Old Wolf has spoken.

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