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The Tokyo Pod Vending Machine resembles a giant game of Tetris in the sky

The building is designed to print and dispense its own dwellings in vending machine-obsessed Tokyo.

April 17, 2017 |

Rendering courtesy of Haseef Rafiei.

A speculative skyscraper designed for Tokyo takes the concept of wabi-sabi (finding beauty in the imperfect or incomplete) to heart. The Pod Vending Machine is designed to be continuously under construction, growing and evolving to meet Tokyo’s housing demand.

The tower acts as a home dispenser that 3D prints modular dwellings from a pod printer installed above the building. These ready-to-use pods can be purchased instantly and customized with sub-pods to include or eliminate whichever amenities a customer requires. For example, a kitchen can be eliminated if it is not needed or, as a family grows, additional rooms can be added.

After construction, the building’s automated system calculates the positioning of the pod and transports it via cranes. Once it is moved into position, the pod is plugged onto the megastructure. This placement isn’t permanent, however. Modules within the complex can be moved and regrouped by mobile cranes and mechanical arms.


Rendering courtesy of Haseef Rafiei.


As more pods are built and the building grows taller, the printer rises as well. A hydraulic system on the sides of the building pumps the construction materials up to the printer. Any abandoned pods will be dismantled after a set time and kept in storage or brought back to the printer to create a closed loop.

In addition to the rental pods, the megastructure will also be home to small offices for start-up businesses and commercial centers that will grow within the structure. The project, designed by architect Haseef Rafiei, was an honorable mention in eVolo’s 2017 Skyscraper Competition.


Rendering courtesy of Haseef Rafiei.

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