Japanese sports officials have finally agreed to tune down Zaha Hadid’s design for the new Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium, bowing to growing criticism over its sheer size and costs.
Last Tuesday the Japan Sport Council (JSC) announced it would scale back the floor space of the London-based Iraqi architect’s futuristic centerpiece, which will be built on the current location of the national stadium in west Tokyo.
The megastructure would be downsized by one-quarter to 220,000 square meters, JSC said. That would cut construction costs to about 180 million yen ($1.8 billion) from the projected amount of 300 billion yen, Japanese media reported.
“While we are still using Zaha Hadid’s design, we now plan to downsize it,” a JSC official told an expert panel which approved the new blueprint.
Although a height restriction of 15 meters is enforced in the area, its height estimates would remain unchanged.
Designed to stand 70 meters, the planned stadium will tower over low-rise buildings and parks in the area and would be visible all over the Japanese capital.
The 80,000-seat venue features a retractable roof and movable seats that adjust their configuration for different sporting events.
Hadid described the architectural centerpiece as “light and cohesive . . . its structure forming a dynamic bridge that creates an exciting new journey for visitors.”
But the opulent design was met with fury by Japanese architects, who said the scheme was obtrusive. Pritzker prize winner Fumihiko Maki, 85, along with dozen other architects protested that the stadium was two to three times the size of its equivalents in London and Athens, and more than three times their cost.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: Forgemind ArchiMedia/Flickr