Japanese architects rally against
Zaha Hadid's 2020 Olympic Stadium

Japanese architects rally against Zaha's 2020 Olympic Stadium

News: Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki has gathered a throng of designers including Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto, Kengo Kuma and Riken Yamamoto to oppose the design of Zaha Hadid's 2020 Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

Maki, who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1993, has organised a symposium where Japanese architects will protest against the scale of the proposed 80,000-seat stadium, which is set to become the main sporting venue for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games.

Japan National Stadium by Zaha Hadid Architects

Sou Fujimoto told the Architects' Journal (£) that the campaign was set up because Zaha Hadid's building will be "too big" in relation to its surroundings, which include Kenzo Tange's iconic 1964 Olympic stadium.

"I hope that this protest is successful in shrinking the design to fit the context," he told the magazine. "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 symposium, entitled Re-thinking the New National Olympic Stadium in the historical context of Gaien, takes place tomorrow and will be streamed live via the Ustream website. Other architects involved include Hidenobu Jinnai, Taro Igarashi, Shinji Miyadai and Tetsuo Furuichi.

Japan National Stadium by Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid won a competition to design the stadium in November 2012, seeing off competition from 10 other finalists including Japanese architects SANAA, Toyo Ito and Azusa Sekkei. The judging panel included Tadao Ando, who commented: "The entry's dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world."

The stadium is set to be completed in 2018.

Hadid previously caused controversy over the design of her Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which featured 600 seats with restricted views of the diving events. See more news about Zaha Hadid »

  • Kris

    Apply water to the burn.

  • Thomas

    What an eyesore that building is! And how sad that such proposals wins these competitions.

  • Concerned Citizen

    “Hadid previously caused controversy over the design of her Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games, which featured 600 seats with restricted views of the diving events.”

    Why is it that starchitects tend to ignore the fundamentals of design and programmatic definitions?

    • Dave

      Or, why is it that self-righteous internet commenters ignore the facts and go straight to being self-righteous?

      Her original design was completely different. What was built was a poor compromise forced on her by budget cuts and bureaucracy.

      • Anonymous

        It was a compromise because she designs structures that are impossible to build within budget. If she had a better knowledge of materials and details, her designs would be able to be built without wasting a whole lot of money.

      • Concerned Citizen

        Why is it that pretentious, snobby wannabes decide to defend bad design, and the best they can do is make personal attacks?

  • pickname

    Why no comments? I just came here to read the comments.

  • orhan

    Stadium that saved Istanbul…

  • Benjamin Edens


  • JayCee

    Are you completely sure about that statement?

    • panos

      I am.

      • Baki

        And that’s because Zaha pays her interns right? Oh wait yes, they pay to work at Zaha’s. Forgot that one.

        • Kiba

          No. Interns at ZHA are getting payed and that’s a fact. Deal with it.

  • Bassel

    Japanese architects are too sore! Seriously, people, if an 80,000 seat Olympic stadium is too big for Tokyo, then just take the games somewhere else!

  • Ainslie Innes

    It may have been futuristic if its crushing banality wasn’t so contemporary.

  • BecP

    It is a bit ‘retro future’ and looks like a giant spaceship has landed, however, it seems folks are not viewing it in context. In 8 years time it will most likely be received completely differently.

  • David Tonge

    I spend a lot of time in this area of Tokyo and it’s pretty clear Zaha Hadid’s office don’t. The point is, this building will dwarf the area not just in sheer scale and volume but in its feeling and lack of human scale. This building is all about the architect and her brand and not about the environment and people of Tokyo. But with a few a exceptions, what’s new in the world of so called star architects and designers?

  • Carlos

    Ok, so if I have enough money and pay my interns, can I destroy your neighborhood with some horrible buildings? Are you 12 years old?

  • Sylvia

    In Japan, most of the time interns are not paid. It’s a different culture. And Zaha Hadid did not pay her interns back then before she struck rich in 2011. Please argue more architecturally rather than talking about such pointless gossipy facts.

  • Aradxb

    Chewing gum egotistical architecture! I am also surprised Tadao Ando approved this!

  • sib

    Beautiful trees though.

  • Anders

    I would like to know which message it is that Japan wants to convey to the world that this “dynamic and futuristic” design embodies.

  • FinanceMan

    The design is obscene. $1.3billion at least (probably much more if the aquatic centre is anything to go by) for a stadium that will host a few matches in 2019 and 3 weeks of events in 2020. At some point people have to question why so much money is being poured into constructing such massive white elephants. Far too many stadia are being designed with form over function, difficult to operate and incredibly expensive to maintain. And please do not talk about legacy. The cost of converting the aquatic centre for legacy use was £50m. You could have built 15 community pools for that money, which would actually generate much more and effected legacy for many more people.

  • xiaozi

    They are correct: the scale and design do not suit the site and if it goes forward as planned it will become an eyesore. Another case of clients taking the safe route of a big name firm and said firm failing the public interest.

    I have to add, Hadid has pretty much run out of ideas and repetition on an ever larger scale says more about ego then creativity.

  • xiaozi

    Wrong. Beaten, not questioned.

  • Scott.park

    Would love to see Ando take a stab at it.

  • Sean Meaney

    As beautiful as the design is, it needed to be a flying stadium based around Zeppelin technology. The future needed to be awesome.

  • Dwair

    One would wonder what the difference is between this building and her others! No difference, and that’s why Ando supports her scheme; it is about a brand architecture to show off.

  • Arnab

    Looks like a bicycling helmet, like her yacht.