NEWS

Two new Olympic stadium designs unveiled by Japan Sport Council

Tuesday, Dec 15, 2015

The Japan Sport Council on Monday unveiled two new stadium designs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that blend in better with the greenery-rich Yoyogi area and currently don’t break the ¥155 billion budget.

“Both designs use wood in their construction materials, and I think that’s an interesting aspect” of the technical proposals on the council’s website, said architect and critic Takashi Moriyama.

“I think the idea of using wood in large structures may globally impact architecture,” he said.

The two new designs, which are apparently Japanese in origin, are simply called A and B. But the companies involved remain a secret.

Japanese media reports say the designs were submitted by a joint venture involving Taisei Corp., and a another venture comprising Takenaka Corp., Shimizu Corp. and Obayashi Corp. This could not be confirmed.

Moriyama noted both designs take into account the natural environment of their surroundings, which are protected by the urban development law, but in different ways.

Design A features outside walls embellished with plants in multiple layers, while B is notable in that it dispenses with walls around its oval outline, which is formed by 72 wooden pillars.

“Personally I like design B because it allows people to enjoy walking around the facility or gather,” Moriyama said. “I like it also because it carries over the atmosphere of the old National Stadium.”

Once bitten, twice shy, the government-affiliated sports body, nervous after embarrassing revelations highlighted the sloppy handling of the preparatory work for the world’s biggest sporting event, took the unusual step of disclosing the new design proposals, which are still under screening.

The design tender was opened in September and closed on Nov. 16, with the two entrants responding.

The two proposals will undergo screening by an expert panel and checks by relevant Cabinet ministers, with the final selection to be made by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, the giant, ill-fated design of British-based architect Zaha Hadid was rejected amid the mounting public outcry over snowballing costs and its futuristic appearance, which critics said was too loud for the nature-protected Yoyogi area.

The project also lacked detailed explanations about the selection process.

After probing the selection process, a government-appointed independent investigative panel concluded in September that neither the education ministry nor JSC had the ability to lead the construction project. Education minister Hakubun Shimomura subsequently stepped down.

As the clamor grew over the stadium’s astronomical construction costs, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe axed Hadid’s design in July to restart the process.

The British-Iraqi architect’s futuristic design, characterized by two arches supporting a roof resembling a cycling helmet, won the competition in 2012 and had an initial estimated cost of ¥130 billion.

The projected size was scaled down in 2014 after the estimate more than doubled to ¥300 billion, but after the new estimate of ¥163 billion was again inflated to ¥252 billion in 2015, her design was rejected.

Construction of the new stadium was originally planned to start this fall for completion in spring 2019.

 

japantimes.co.jp