House of Serendipity

An artificially intelligent home

Brief Overview

Year 2050: AI has taken over more than half the jobs in the world. More people are free to find creative work. This is the age of the modern hermit. While the hermit works remotely from any home anywhere, giving up luxury for a monastic life, mass withdrawal from society at such a scale can lead to political and social upheavals. The hermit has to look inward to find himself, and also to look outward, to find projects. Can AI create serendipitous encounters between the ‘mini-worlds’ of every hermit?

In a world that is losing a sense of community to the lure of technology, people have become habituated to isolation. AI atones for technology’s sins by reigniting the people’s primordial, child-like excitement to play, weaving a new, dynamic story around the magic of community life and co-living. Nakagin Capsule Tower becomes a backdrop for it and not only represents architecture but is also a reflection of the city in the past and now in the future. Alongside AI, Internet of Things helps us in creating links with various components of the building and creating a synergistic relationship.

History, Context and Analysis

The Embodied Intelligence in Metabolism and Architecture, and the City

Nakagin Capsule Tower built in an organic urban lab of Tokyo, was way ahead of its time in re-thinking the future of decentralised urban living alongside adaptability and was a beacon of sustainablility. It created an urban center of living at a time when people needed place to live and had started immigrating to the outskirts of the city. Meant to last for 200 years, it can still function, if some interventions are made. Based on the ideas of biological growth, it has remained static ever since. One of the aims of Nakagin was to anticipate change and growth and this project strives to achive it. Rather than building from scratch, Nakagin provides a base to start fresh and fits the bill for a futuristic intelligent home in a post-work era.

Study of Future “Machines” for Living in(houses)

As Corbusier said, “A house is a machine for living”, attempts have been made in the past to rethink the way we live. Each of the below posits a different take on the future living spaces. In a future of scarce resources and maturity of A.I. affecting our work life, co-living seems the way and Nakagin Capsule Tower stands out to be re-worked upon.

Post War to Post Work living pattern

Lifestyle of people living and working in Nakagin was very different as compared to Tokyo. Activities happening in Nakagin didn’t result in a community living. In a post-work era, where there will be no work to do, different activities should be present to engage people. Thus, these patterns will help in reflecting in the new design of A.I. house.

Chronology of Nakagin Capsule Tower

Rediscovering future needs and social structure

To maintain a stable society based on economy, Japan's ageing population will have to look towards automation for work. In the absence of work, what should keep residents motivated and strive for betterment and personal development. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self- actualization is the ultimate goal which incorporates creative environement, enhanced public communication and cognitive identity to name a few. The following pages will illustrate, how physical spaces can help achieve self-actualization using artifical intelligence(automation)

Omote-ura – Public and Private Faces of Japanese life- The existing Nakagin Capsule Tower


Inspiration from Traditional Japanese settlement


An interface between inside and outside in traditional Japanese houses. It used to act as a social condenser, hosting lot of activities and changing its function accordingly. We inherit and develop the space system to adapt new design purposes. The Japanese way is to mix everything not as a synthesis but as a situation (reality)

Interplay of Scales - Defragmentation to Fragmentation

Fragmentation leads to dissolving the rigid boundaries and hence exploration: a pixel for a pixel


Intervention and plans

Renovation sequence and steps

The system design and working of the building

Nakagin Capsule Tower now acts as a system and more so as a cybernetic(aesthetically potent) system with constraints and many configurations where humans and the building communicates, the building's intelligence responds by generating plans for creative construct using pneumatics

Blurred boundaries, enhanced interactions, presence of free will and endless variations on the theme of Artificial Intelliegence and Metabolism

Variations in a day at Nakagin and transformation of space by Artificial Intelligence according to patterns of living

Human activities are sensed by the embedded systems (interconnected through IoT) on the floor and hence record a pattern. Pneumatic actuators convert these signals to linear motion, defining new spaces every time either based on choice or by intuition through AI.


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