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Japanese architects slam Zaha’s Tokyo Olympics stadium scheme

Japanese architects slam Zaha’s Tokyo Olympics stadium scheme

Top Japanese architects have blasted the design of Zaha Hadid’s proposed National Stadium in Tokyo, claiming the centrepiece of the 2020 Olympics is too big.

Sou Fujimoto, the architect behind this year’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, has joined Pritzker Prize laureate Fumihiko Maki in opposing the competition-winning scheme (see below).

Maki has set up a ‘symposium’ of Japanese architects, including Toyo Ito, Hidenobu Jinnai, Shinji Miyadai and Tetsuo Furuichi to protest against the size and scale of the 290,000m² stadium.

Fujimoto 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.’

The new stadium, which will dwarf Maki’s neighbouring 1990 Metropolitan Gymnasium, will replace an existing open-air stadium that was used for the 1964 Summer Olympic Games. 

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.’

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.’

The symposium Re-thinking the New National Olympic Stadium in historical background of Jingu-Gaien’ will be streamed live online on 11 October.

Zaha Hadid was unavailable for comment.

Tokyo's Metropolitan Gymnasium by Fumihiko Maki

Tokyo’s Metropolitan Gymnasium by Fumihiko Maki which will neighbour Hadid’s proposed new stadium

Previous story (AJ 15.11.2013)

Zaha Hadid wins Japan national stadium contest

Zaha Hadid Architects has seen off 10 global big hitters to win the contest to overhaul Japan’s national stadium

The practice, which designed the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, scooped the £164,000 first prize ahead of a raft of star names including Populous with Rod Sheard, UNStudio and Toyo Ito.

It is understood Australia’s Cox Architecture was handed second place and SANAA third spot.

Hadid, who was made a dame last week, will mastermind the overhaul of the national stadium in Tokyo which will be redeveloped to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and also, potentially, the Olympic Games in 2020. Tokyo is currently up against Madrid and Istanbul to host the greatest show on earth.

Japan’s 48,000-seat national stadium in Kasumigaoka, Tokyo was constructed in 1958 and hosted the 1964 Summer Olympics. The new stadium is expected to seat 80,000 spectators and is planned for completion in 2018.

WINNER: Zaha Hadid Architects

WINNER: Zaha Hadid Architects

The ten-strong competition jury featured Richard Rogers and Norman Foster and was chaired by 1995 Pritzker Prize winner Tadao Ando.

Explaining the jury’s decision Ando said: ‘[The winning scheme’s] dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world.’

An ‘honoured’ Hadid said: ‘Our three decades of research into Japanese architecture and urbanism is evident in our winning design and we greatly look forward to building the new National Stadium.

The perimeter of the stadium will be an inhabited bridge

‘[The arena] will become an integral element of Tokyo’s urban fabric, directly engaging with the surrounding cityscape to connect and carve the elegant forms of the design. The unique structure is both light and cohesive, defining a silhouette that integrates with the city. The perimeter of the stadium will be an inhabited bridge: a continuous exhibition space that creates an exciting new journey for visitors.’

Speaking about the victory Architecture Minister Ed Vaizey said: ‘This is great news, not only for Zaha Hadid and her team but for Britain’s design and architecture industry, once again showing our design talent is leading the way across the world.’

See the full 11-strong shortlist here

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