20 October 2010

A place to rest one's head -


- only.

When looking up examples of capsule hotels, which is a Japanese idiosyncrasy and result of ultra optimization of space, I came across this one called Nine Hours - named for the time it takes for you to sleep and get ready.  Although it looks more like a wall of ovens (or worse, a wall of graves) rather than a wall of beds, what caught my eye was actually the list of rules on their website, which are as follows:

9h may refuse the conclusion of the contract in any of the following cases.
  • When 9h is fully booked and no sleeping pods are available.
  • When 9h is unable to provide accommodation due to natural calamities,
    malfunction of the facilities or other unavoidable causes.
  • Services beyond those provided are requested.
  • When the Guest seeking accommodation is deemed liable to act in violation of public morals,
    or conduct their selves in a disorderly manner.
  • When it is obviously acknowledged that the Guest is an infectious case.
  • When the Guest is heavily-intoxicated. This applies even after Check-in.
  • When the Guest speaks or acts in a manner that is deemed an annoyance to other guests.
  • When the Guest seeking accommodation is a member of, or involved with, gang organizations,
    crime syndicates or any antisocial groups.
  • When the Guest speaks or acts in a manner that is deemed an annoyance to other guests.
  • If 9h terminates the contract when the circumstances come under any of the above mentioned articles,
    9h will not charge the Guest for any of the services in future during the contractual period which he/she has not received.
Hilarious.... and somewhat disturbing at the same time.  The website says explicitly that the floors and elevators are separated by gender as well.  This makes me wonder what type of person uses these sorts of hotels - not simply business people on the go?  Does the architecture encourage the kinds of behavior of the guests, or the other way around?  Does morality fit into the picture?

In any rate, I don't think this is exactly what Kisho Kurokawa, architect of the Nakagin Capsule Tower, had intended when he built the first of capsule hotels in the 1970s, more under the premise of accommodating change and recyclability within architecture as part of the Metabolist movement.