Compact, modular, and Lego-like housing is nothing new. Buckminster Fuller‘s Dymaxion House (now at the Henry Ford Museum), designed in the 1940s, was probably the first. But the Lustron House was actually sold commercially in the years after World War Two. Though it didn’t turn out to be a commercial success, the house did show the promise of pre-fabrication and mass-manufacture for house. They even have have an enduring fan base, with websites like the Lustron Connection and Lustron Luxury, and a documentary.
Fast forward now to 1970 and the Nakagin Capsule Tower. It was developed with removable capsules — individual housing units — attached to the central column, but it’s now getting criticism in part because the aging capsules have never been upgraded as the architect imagined. So goes the life of an architect, apparently.