At last, design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium has finally been decided with Kengo Kuma's winning commission. The Japanese firm fought off a plan by Toyo Ito to claim the prize. Zaha Hadid, however, was less than complimentary of the decision. The 80,000 capacity stadium will cost $1.2 billion, almost half the cost of Hadid's proposal and will crucially be constructed by Taisei Corp, a major firm in Japan. That's not to say that decision isn't still mired in controversy. Nicknamed the "hamburger," several architects, according to the Financial Times, claim it bears “remarkable similarities” to a an earlier design that was scrapped in July. Utilizing a wood and steel roof, Kuma's design creates a green space within the city of Tokyo with the facade’s horizontal lines seemingly referencing the 1,300-year-old Gojunoto wooden pagoda at Horyuji Temple. Meanwhile the environment is completed via the implementation of Jingu Shrine trees and other foliage found within the vicinity of the stadium. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke of the design, saying "I think this is a wonderful plan that meets criteria such as basic principles, construction period and cost," when he announced the winning practice. Hadid, though, has other ideas. “Sadly the Japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in Japan, have colluded to close the doors on the project to the world,” Zaha Hadid Architect's said in statement. "This shocking treatment of an international design and engineering team ... was not about design or budget." "In fact much of our two years of detailed design work and the cost savings we recommended have been validated by the remarkable similarities of our original detailed stadium layout and our seating bowl configuration with those of the design announced today," she continued. Completion is set to be around November 2019, though there are doubts that it will be ready in time for the Rugby World Cup that Japan is hosting that year. This was initially a requirement that was demanded by the Japan Sports Council and one that Hadid says her firm would have been able to meet. “Work would already be under way building the stadium if the original design team had simply been able to develop this original design, avoiding the increased costs of an 18-month delay and risk that it may not be ready in time for the 2020 Games.” Meanwhile, president of Tokyo 2020, Yoshiro Mori, has said, “The stadium incorporates the views of experts in the construction field and we are looking forward very much to using the new stadium as the centrepiece of the Tokyo 2020 Games.”
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After controversy and budget overruns surrounding Zaha Hadid's curvy design for Tokyo's Olympic Stadium, the starchitect bowed out of the running. But Tokyo still needs a stadium, and two just-released proposals show a decidedly more traditional design. The Japan Sports Council announced that the winner will be selected before the year is up, however, upon publishing details of the proposals, they have chosen to keep the submissions anonymous. That said, Nikkan Sports speculates that architects Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma are the two practices vying for the lucrative commission. Supposing this claim is true, one can quickly deduce that proposal "A" belongs to Kengo Uma and that proposal "B" is Toyo' based on both firms' previous projects and inherent style. An in-depth insight into both the plans can be found on the council's website (it's all in Japanese) and it's clear that both submissions clearly outline costs and construction details—a hard lesson learned after Hadid's proposal, which was vetoed by the council, after it spiralled up to $2 billion. Now, both submissions cost around half of Hadid's proposal, ringing in at $1.2 billion. Utilizing a wood and steel roof, Proposal A creates a green space within the city of Tokyo with the facade's horizontal lines seemingly referencing the 1,300-year-old Gojunoto wooden pagoda at Horyuji Temple. Meanwhile the environment is completed via the implementation of Jingu Shrine trees and other foliage found within the vicinity of the stadium. Meanwhile, Proposal B incorporates a much more modern aesthetic, especially in its roof design. The roof design, however, as artful as it may be, is primarily functional. The curvature encapsulates sound generated from spectators, creating a more fervent atmosphere while keeping the neighbors happy. Supporting the roof will be 72 pillars that wrap around the stadium. What defines Proposal B is its unique and feathery undulating roof, but also the solid wood pillars that will be equally spaced around the stadium. The 72 weight-bearing pillars will serve a symbolic purpose in that they reference Japan’s tradition of building pillars to honor festivities. The number of pillars is also special, representing the 72 micro-seasons of Japan, a feature of Japan's culture that is exhibited further with a 2788.71 foot track that informs visitors of each micro-season with each pillar.
Despite months of refusing to admit the case, Zaha Hadid has finally conceded that her bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium is dead in the water. After Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the country was scrapping Hadid's plans in June earlier this year, the British-Iraqi architect has only now come out and said that the plans are indeed finished and that the project will go no further. Since day one the project was steeped in controversy amid the backlash from critics denouncing the stadium for displacing residents of public housing while also burning a deep hole in Japanese pocketbooks. Hadid's proposal would have cost a hefty $2 billion. Another reason the project failed was due to the fact that Hadid's company was also unsuccessful in finding a construction company. The Tokyo 2020 authority has made sure this issue will not rise again as conditions now stipulate that a construction firm must be in place for projects submitted in the new competition for the design. In a statement, a spokesman on behalf of Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) said: “It is disappointing that the two years of work and investment in the existing design for a new national stadium for Japan cannot be further developed to meet the new brief through the new design competition.” In 2012, Hadid's design topped 45 other submissions to claim the prize. She most recently released a 20 minute video pitch arguing its financial viability. https://youtu.be/KWQGwz3vdb4 [h/t The Guardian.]
The Sports Minister for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Hakubum Shimomura, is set to scale back the approved stadium, designed by Iraqi-born architect, Zaha Hadid. The decision was made in the wake of a big uproar from some leading Japanese architects who claim that the stadium is "too big and too expensive." The Minister did not give specifics on how the structure would be scaled down, but stressed that the original design concept would be maintained. The futuristic mothership-like structure which was planned to seat 80,000 people, is estimated to cost $3 billion, which is more than double of the original budget. Pritzker Prize–winning architect, Fumihiko Maki, urged that the design be reworked to a “more sustainable stadium.” His views are shared by approximately one hundred other experts in the field. Zaha Hadid Architects have responded by saying that the space will be highly flexible, and can be used for a diverse range of events beyond the Olympics, such as music concerts. They have also expressed willingness to discuss design changes in order to make the scheme more cost-effective and sustainable. With construction set to commence in 2014, the design team will be hard pressed to trim down the stadium without compromising its original concept and structural integrity.