Kengo Kuma has revisited Dundee to speak about the similarities between his V&A Museum in the Scottish city and his under-construction National Stadium to be used for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
The Japanese architect gave a detailed talk about the thinking behind the two projects and the inspirations that guided them both as part of of celebrations to mark the first anniversary of the opening of the £80 million V&A Dundee.
The waterfront project won a Royal Incorporation of Architects Award and has been visited more than 800,000 times in its first year.
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However, it was not all plain sailing for the Scottish scheme. Its budget controversially rocketed by £31 million, its opening was delayed by three years and it was relocated further inland than originally envisaged.
Kuma has also faced battles on his stadium project in Tokyo, on which he is working on in conjunction with Taisei Corporation and Azusa Sekkei Co.
Zaha Hadid sent a report to the Japan Sports Council in 2016 outlining similarities between the ‘structure, layout and numerous elements’ of her shelved proposals for the arena and the Japanese architect’s competition-winning design.
However, Kuma told an audience in Dundee this week that his designs for the museum and stadium both came from a desire to replicate the natural environment.
‘National Stadium has very common ideas to this museum – how to connect buildings to nature,’ he said.
‘The stadium is in the centre of Tokyo but besides the skyscrapers there is beautiful forest. We should reconnect with the forest.’
Kuma said the five-layered roof eaves of the stadium reflected the five-storey Seventh Century Horyu-Ji pagoda in Japan.
‘Look at the rhythm of the wooden joists,’ he said of the pagoda. ‘Those beautiful rhythms are to create harmony with the environment. And beautiful shadow. The same idea applied in our stadium.’
Kuma added: ‘In the 20th century, the material was concrete and steel with no character, nature or rhythm. With this stadium I want to show that I love future building. It is similar with Dundee – you can see the rise and the rhythm.
‘If you get a chance next year, come to see the stadium and appreciate its similarities to the V&A Dundee.’
Just over a third of visitors to the museum so far have come from Tayside, with a similar proportion from the rest of Scotland, some from other parts of the UK and one in 10 from overseas.
V&A Dundee director Philip Long said: ‘The last 12 months have been remarkable and I can hardly believe all that’s been achieved in that time. As well as welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors and putting on world-class exhibitions championing Scottish and international design, the museum has really become part of the city, and for that I’d like to thank everyone for their support.’