Nakagin Capsule Tower, Tokyo
Photography: Michael Francis McCarthy

Tokyo-style capsule homes could be the answer to London’s housing crisis, according to architect John McAslan.

The suggestion was just one of several ideas he proposed – in an interview with the Evening Standard – to help ensure the capital builds more than 500,000 homes by 2020.

‘We should promote the concept of micro-housing,’ said McAslan, whose practice designed King’s Cross station’s revamp and is working on Bond Street’s Crossrail station.

‘In [London and New York], micro-housing formats are being designed and tested, recalling theories first explored in Europe in the Twenties and developed in legendary architectural projects such as the 1972 Nakagin Capsule Tower [in Tokyo] and Habitat 67 in Montreal.’

Inside one of the units at the Nakagin Capsule Tower Photography: Mori Art Museum
Inside one of the units at the Nakagin Capsule Tower
Photography: Mori Art Museum

Tokyo’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, designed by architect Kisho Kurokawa, comprises 140 ‘pod’ homes and each of its units can be connected to another to create a larger space. But the building has since fallen into disrepair and is now facing the threat of demolition.

Habitat 67, designed by architect Moshe Safdie, was built as an experiment in affordable urban living for the World’s Fair in 1967.

McAslan also proposed building new medium-rise buildings – modelled on similar New York examples – and co-housing projects, where small groups of people can buy land to build homes on.

The architect was speaking to the Evening Standard ahead of his lecture on London and New York’s housing shortage at the British Library next Monday.



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