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Zaha: ‘Our Tokyo stadium designs cannot be improved’

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Zaha Hadid Architects has released a new video explaining why the Japanese government was wrong to scrap its proposed £1.3 billion Olympic Stadium in Tokyo

In the short film the practice states: ‘The current design is compact and efficient and cannot be improved upon unless the capacity is altered and a more competitive bidding situation is created.’

The practice had been working on its competition-winning designs for the past two years and claimed the scheme was ‘ready to start on site’ and could be ready for the Rugby World Cup of 2019 and the test events before the Tokyo 2020 summer Olympics.

Last week it was announced that Japan would launch a new competition for the stadium after its prime minister Shinzo Abe called for a rethink of the 2020 Olympic venue.  

Abe instructed the country’s sports and Olympics ministers to go back to the drawing board on the 80,000-seat venue after the budget ballooned to almost double the original £674 million estimate.

But in its video the practice outlined the stadiums costs adding the original budget was based on a basic 8,000-seater stadium on the site, and not an extended brief which included ‘an operable roof’ and ‘moving seating tiers’.

It said the government’s plans to relaunch a competition for the stadium this year would cause an ‘unnecessary risk’.

The practice reiterated its earlier statement that the procurement for the stadium was to blame for the rising costs.

‘The immovable designs combined with a limited condition in the marketplace create inflated prices. The determining factor in the price is the market and the price of materials and labour. The design is not the determining factor in these circumstances. The design should be seen as the only way to achieve value for money in the market’, said the practice.

It added: ‘Without a design as a contractual commitment as much as time and cost there will be considerable risk to achieveing value and return on investment.’

‘A new concept design with a price cannot be trusted. By the time certainty is achieved it will be too late and the Japanese public will get less for their money.

‘We believe the answer is to introduce more competition between the contractors but to not lose the benefits of the design. A new process should be used to get a lower price but it should not waste the design work done to date.’

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