Architect Kengo Kuma to Design Tokyo’s new Olympic Stadium

By: | April 06 , 2020

Artist rendering provided by the Japan Sport Council shows the street view of the new stadium design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics proposed by architect Kengo Kuma and two companies. | AP

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After scrapping the first design by renowned architect Zaha Hadid in July, the Japanese government   picked a less-costly and greenery-rich plan by architect Kengo Kuma for the new National Stadium that will serve as the centerpiece of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The winning proposal, formerly known as design A, was submitted by a joint venture comprised of an architect, construction firm Taisei Corp. and construction support firm Azusa Sekkei Co. It features a roof made of wood and steel for a design that draws on traditional Japanese architecture. It has already been dubbed the “hamburger” on social media in Japan. The estimated cost of the overall project, including construction, design and other work, is estimated at ¥153 billion. The height of the stadium has been set at less than 50 meters so it will fit its landscape, apparently to avoid what critics said were mistakes in the ill-fated design by Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid.

The design proposed by Hadid became the center of public criticism due to its futuristic but grandiose design that many thought did not fit in with the greenery-rich Meiji Jingu Gaien park area.Because of difficulties realizing Hadid’s design, which featured two keel arches supporting a striking roof that was said to resemble the shape of a cyclist’s helmet, construction costs were estimated at up to ¥252 billion — almost double the ¥130 billion estimate when the plan was adopted by the JSC in the wake of an international design competition held in 2012.

The decision came after five months of reviewing and rearranging the construction project after consulting athletes, professionals and other stakeholders. The new approach was made necessary when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scrapped Hadid’s design amid a public outcry over the opaque selection process that featured an extravagant design, a rough estimate of the construction period and snowballing costs.

The Japan Sport Council (JSC), which is overseeing the construction project, will finalize the contract with the winning party next month and plans to start construction as early as December 2016. All construction is scheduled to finish by November 2019 so that the stadium will be ready for the Olympics opening ceremony in July 2020.

The winning design received 610 points. The other design, identified previously as design B which turned out Friday to have been put forward by a venture comprised of architect Toyo Ito and construction firms Takenaka Corp., Shimizu Corp. and Obayashi Corp., lost with 602 points.


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