Tokyo: Architects appeal to rethink the Olympic Stadium

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Tokyo: Architects appeal to rethink the Olympic Stadium For some Zaha Hadid is an expert without question. And leading Japanese architects argue they don’t want to challenge her status, but hope to help her change her mind on some aspects of the new 2020 Olympic Stadium. News by Architects Journal.


In mid-November last year we received the long-awaited answer as top architects were fighting for the design of new National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Perhaps the most modern and prestigious new stadium planned worldwide, this contract was snapped by Zaha Hadid. Her team’s idea of how the 80,000-100,000 capacity stadium is a very impressive one.

National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo

Impressive? Of course, but also imposing and simply too big, unfriendly and unfitting within the existing sports complex.  Fumihiko Maki, just like Hadid a Pritzker winner, argues this design could be better. He was joined by nearly 20 other architects, some of whom are considered as Japan’s most renowned creators.

Sou Fujimoto, one of the protesters, said: “Maki is protesting against Zaha’s stadium on the basis of the programme being too big – the area of the project being too big.”

The Japanese architect added: “I hope that his protest is successful in shrinking the design to fit the context. I’m not fighting Zaha. The competition for the stadium was very rigorous and we can’t overturn everything. But the design could be better.”

National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo

Yesterday saw Maki’s symposium dedicated to the issue: „Re-thinking the New National Olympic Stadium in historical background of Jingu-Gaien”. Among those appealing to rethink the stadium are Toyo Ito, Hidenobu Jinnai, Shinji Miyadai and Tetsuo Furuichi.

Alastair Townsend, of Tokyo-based Bakoko, said: "One hopes that, as Zaha’s design is worked through in detail, the stadium’s interface with urban neighbourhoods and parkland on its periphery will be significantly softer. The current renderings don’t show a single tree on the site."

National Olympic Stadium, Tokyo

Takefumi Kamio, of Tokyo-based studio DUCA, said the stadium’s passages and public areas were ‘too big and too artificial’. He added: "It covers too much ground. It feels as though it is bit too tight."

But, like Fujimoto, Kamio said he was pleased Hadid had won the competition. He said: "I am not against Zaha’s project. I welcome the presence of Zaha’s stadium in Tokyo."