His recent projects include a series of digital heritage workshops that uses photogrammetry and panoramic videos to capture and preserve historic buildings, as well as Arcbazar.com, an online competition platform created to democratize architectural design process through crowdsourcing, for which he works as a key advisory member.
Nagakura leads the project Unbuilt Monuments, in which his team is developing synthetic visualization of significant but unrealized early modern architecture, including the Danteum (Terragni and Lingeri, 1938), the Palace of Soviets (Le Corbusier, 1931) and the Monuments for the Third International (Tatlin, 1919). The project produced a series of computer graphics films screened in Tokyo, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Paris, London, Florence, Moscow and other international locations during film festivals, conferences and major museum exhibitions.
Inspired by the perspective apparatus Albrecht Durer documented in 1525, he invented Digitarama, an interactive space-form projection machine, developed for the Virtual Architecture Show at Tokyo University Digital Museum in June 1997. Deskrama, its portable version created in collaboration with Jun Oishi, has been patented, and developed recently into a mobile AR device,Multirama, introduced this year at exhibitions at MIT and in Tokyo.
His built work, Gushikawa Orchid Center in Okinawa, Japan has been awarded with SD Review Award (1998) and Nikkei Kyushyu District New Office Award (1999).
His Ph.D. dissertation (1996) at Harvard University proposed a computable paradigm for representing architectural shapes and transformations. This opened up a possibility of new type of intelligent software that can help developing architectural design by recognizing shapes and transforming them in drawings. NITROS, its prototype CLOS implementation with Internet-based knowledge distribution system is in progress under his project Metamorphica.
He is the co-author of Gendai Kenchiku no Hassou (Ideas in Contemporary Architecture) (Maruzen, 1989) and translated William J. Mitchell's the Logic of Architecture (MIT Press, 1990) into Japanese (Kajima, 1991). His essays include "Shape Recognition and Transformation" in the Electronic Design Studio, edited by William J. Mitchell, Patrick Purcell and Malcolm McCullough (MIT Press, 1990). The result of his early MIT studio courses in electronic design environment is summarized in a co-authored article, "Digital Pinup Board -- The Story of the Virtual Village Project" in Virtual Design Studio, edited by Jerzy Wojtowicz (Hong Kong Press, 1995).
Before coming to MIT in 1993, Nagakura worked for Fumihiko Maki in Tokyo, and was an instructor at Harvard University, Graduate School of Design. He earned Bachelor of Engineering in Architecture from Tokyo University in 1985, Master of Architecture from Harvard University in 1987, Master of Engineering in Architecture from Tokyo University in 1988, and completed his PhD at Harvard in 1996. In 1985 he received the prestigious Ishizaka Memorial Foundation scholarship from the Japanese Federation of Economic Institutions. He is the recipient of the Japan Information Culture Society Grand Prize in 1999.