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 »

  • Stophorous

    Looks like futurism from the past in my opinion.

  • Andohoho

    I am surpised Ando supported it :O

  • Ewelina

    I agree with Maki, this design is quite hideous and doesn’t even consider its surroundings. It’ll stick out like a sore ugly thumb…

  • Steeevyo

    Disgraceful backstabbing. Makes me want to vomit.

    Also Sou Fujimoto is probably upset over the fact that Zaha Hadid unlike him does not hire unpaid interns.

  • BoarHunter

    So so so ugly.

  • Colonel Pancake

    Fumihiko Maki and his new massive pile of sh*t in Astor Place have little room to talk regarding poor contextual design.

  • Tom f

    Smaller, smaller, smaller, smaller, gone. Perfect.

  • Kris

    Apply water to the burn.

  • Thomas

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

  • oo yea

    Finally! Yes! Like I said, she is about decline faster than anyone before! It was something fun in the 80s and early 90s, but today it’s just arrogant.

  • 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?

    • Steeevyo

      Zaha Hadid provided a lot more seats with full view than was required in the brief. But the organisers were stupid enough to sell seats with restricted view on the diving tower for diving events, which lead to justified complaints.

      Of course instead of apologising for their blunder, they turned this into an accusation against everyone’s favourite punching bag, Zaha Hadid.
      Zaha’s PR rectified these erroneous claims back then and still people repeat the same lie over and over again.

      It really makes one wonder if people secretly enjoy being ignorant or wilfully malicious. Dezeen sometimes censors my comments when there is too much snark or sarcasm in them. They should put more focus on not admitting comments that are factually wrong.

      • Concerned Citizen

        Exactly how much bad design does it take to be bad design?

  • pickname

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

  • yeah

    I hope everyone in Japan could see, not only the Minimalism and white concrete block could save the world, Japan need more new blood! Obviously his small old stadium is in surrounding, that’s why.

  • orhan

    Stadium that saved Istanbul…

  • beatrice

    Zaha too big? Never. Ego I mean, obviously.

  • Garo Ungaro

    Reducing the size might be a good alternative. It’s like a white sea shell on black volcanic sand? Or it looks like a futuristic airlines interior, which appears too bold…good design concept.

  • Blue Raven

    Nice renderings, nice views. But how often do you see it from to admire its form?

  • 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!

    • Labirinto

      Dude, we’re not talking about East-London industrial Stratford here. This is prime central Tokyo, next to a beautiful park, Omotesando Avenue, lots of small scale neighbourhood blocs, etc… This project, at it’s present scale, is just obscene. I agree with the comment below though, the jury is to blame for choosing this particular project. But nevertheless, the protest is legitimate and I hope it takes off and the project shrinks (a lot!).

  • Toto

    Hadid did what she knows, and it wins architectural competitions, whether you like her work or not. The issue here is the jury. They are the ones that should be questioned about the decision they took.

  • Labirinto

    Tange must be rolling in his grave… 50 years into the future and architecture is back in the stone age. Let’s all forget about scale and context and just land these alien vessels anywhere Zaha style! We’ve done it China so why not everywhere else?

  • Ainslie Innes

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

  • Sensing Thing

    Bury it, along with any parking and build something more in keeping with the fabric of the neighborhood on top of it. Some punctures in the roof for natural light and views down into stadium.

  • 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?

  • pipo

    I agree that the project looks obscene in it’s scale. But we also have to admit that it was submitted in a competition and it came out as the winner. If anyone is to blame it is the jury for choosing this proposal.
    I’m very glad about the protest though, and I hope some satisfying results will come out of the discusssion.

  • 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.

    • charles osawa

      Yeah, that’s right. Children’s go comment at BIG’s Kickstarter chimney.

  • 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

      Of late I question if the Olympics have become blight on the cities that “win”. In Beijing we now have a far better design (Bird’s Nest) but it is so large, it has failed as a venue for anything since the Olympics and it is a white elephant that drains millions from the government for maintenance with no real return to society. I hope the Japanese can do something about this, it is even bigger and will ruin the neighbourhood while draining a treasury already in debt. And all for the glory of a star architect who hasn’t had a new idea in at least a decade.

  • 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.


    It’s like any Calatrava disaster… Hadid is the female Calatrava.