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Kengo Kuma and Toyo Ito reveal Tokyo stadium bids

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Two new competing visions for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Stadium drawn up by Kengo Kuma and Toyo Ito have been revealed

The rival proposals – whose respective designers remain unidentified – have been unveiled five months after Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) contest-winning scheme was dropped amid a row over escalating costs.

Dubbed simply ‘A’ and ‘B’, the proposals were submitted by the two teams shortlisted in the launched in September (AJ 18.09.15).

Kengo Kuma has reportedly paired with contactor Taisei Corporation while Toyo Ito has teamed up with contractors Takenaka, Shimizu, and Obayashi.

Both Kuma and Ito were among a raft of high-profile Japanese architects who had previously led criticism of Zaha Hadid’s estimated ¥250 billion design.

Their revised schemes – expected to start on site in 2017 and complete by November 2019 – have had to meet a lower revised budget of ¥155 billion.

Estimated to cost ¥153 billion, scheme ‘A’ features a sunken playing surface, a flat roof and a steel and timber structure inspired by traditional Japanese temples.

Design ‘B’ – estimated to cost ¥153.7 billion – includes an outer glass wall representing the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

Criticising the latest contest, a ZHA spokesman said work would have already started on the games centrepiece by now if proposed refinement’s to the original competition winning design had been accepted.

He said: ‘The adapted design would have met all the requirements of the new brief and delivered an efficient, high-quality new National Stadium for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, in good time to welcome the world to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games, and go on to become a new home for sport in Japan for many generations to come.’

The spokesman also said it was ‘disappointing’ the Japanese government would not consider working with ZHA to build on the firm’s two years of work which included developing a detailed seating bowl design for the site.

’There are now serious risks of a rushed process’

He continued: ‘The rules of entry to the new competition restricted the existing design team, as well as many other Japanese and international architects and contractors that wished to take part, from entering.’

He added: ‘There are now serious risks of a rushed process, with no certainty on the likely construction cost of the stadium, and that it may not be ready in time or deliver a significant sporting legacy without expensive conversion after the 2020 Games.’

The 80,000-capacity stadium project was mired in controversy ever since Hadid defeated a raft of international stars to win the job three years ago.

The scheme was scaled down and redesigned last summer after a petition – led by Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma and Sou Fujimoto –received more than 32,000 signatures calling for the design to be scrapped.

Opponents claimed the original design – planned to replace Tokyo’s 1964 Olympic national stadium – was ‘oversized’ and would have a negative impact on the nearby Meiji Shrine gardens.

Despite last summer’s alterations, Zaha Hadid’s contest-winning proposals were dropped in July due to escalating costs.

After the surprise announcement, the firm criticised the client’s insistence on limiting the construction contract to a small number of Japanese firms, which it claimed pushed prices up.

In a lengthy statement intended to ’set the record straight’, ZHA also said it had not been ‘permitted to work with the construction contractors’ to reduce the budget.

A second contest was launched in September and ZHA initially teamed up with construction and architecture firm Nikken Sekkei to participate. Just days later however the pair withdrew, announcing they had failed to secure a construction company to bid with.

A winner is expected to be announced later this month.


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