French architectural genius Axel de Stampa created a dancing ode to Tetris (1984) with the 2014 debut of his gif art gallery Architecture Animée. The introductory image sees large Tetris piece-shaped buildings fall from a blue sky to interlock themselves with the grounded structures below. The result is a series of architectural tetrominoes that reveal an understanding of the choreography and composition of each great city. But this is more than a videogame reference, as it alludes to the need for movement in the skyscrapers and city blocks of the urban utopias of the future. There is a growing demand for spatially efficient and moveable office spaces and apartments that could potentially reduce urban congestion, while also allowing cities to grow outwards and perhaps even inwards, onto themselves. With his gallery, Stampa realizes the dream of changeable, pieceable, and transformative architectural units that the design concepts of the future may move towards.
This is not a new idea. Kisho Kurokawa initiated his version of the architectural future with the Nakagin Capsule Tower, which was completed in 1972 and consists of 140 concrete, liveable capsules fabricated into the backbone of the tower itself. The crux of the concept is that the capsules can be moved out of the tower by the owners at any time and installed at a different part of the sprawling metropolis that is Tokyo (it’s not too easy, though, given that a crane is needed to lift each one out from top-to-bottom).
Kurokawa’s brainchild was still very much ahead of his time—today’s architectural norms haven’t yet caught up with his idealistic perspective on spatially efficient approaches to architecture. The story of the Nakagin Capsule Tower remains something of a tragedy, a forsaken approach to urban growth and development. Kurokawa passed away in 2007, passionately protesting the Nakagin Capsule Tower owners’ collective decision to demolish the building, which is situated in the celebrated Ginza district where real-estate is always in high demand and quite expensive. Fortunately, the advent of the financial crisis prevented any such destruction and the tower was saved, though only half of the capsules are actually used today due to the derelict condition of the apartments themselves. […]