Zaha Hadid's Tokyo Olympic stadium
to be scaled back


News: a stadium designed by Zaha Hadid as the centrepiece for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is set to be downsized following criticisms from a band of Japanese architects over its scale and cost.

Zaha Hadid's competition-winning design for the new 80,000-seat stadium was approved by the Japanese government six months ago, but sports minister Hakubun Shimomura has now backtracked on the decision, telling parliament that that 300 billion yen (£1.8 billion) is "too massive a budget" for the construction.

"We need to rethink this to scale it down," he said. "Urban planning must meet people's needs."

Zaha Hadid's Tokyo Olympic stadium to be scaled back

The proposed stadium is set to host the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2020 games, as well as athletics, football and rugby events, but faced opposition earlier this month when architects including Fumihiko Maki, Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto and Kengo Kuma organised a symposium calling for the design to be scaled back.

In a statement last week Maki, who was awarded the Pritzker Prize in 1993, said: "The problems I see with the planned stadium all relate to the issue of scale."

Fujimoto had also voiced his objections to the size, commenting via Twitter: "We are NOT against Zaha. We just think the basic requirement of the competition was too big for the surroundings."

Zaha Hadid's Tokyo Olympic stadium to be scaled back

Zaha Hadid won a competition to design the stadium in November 2012, five months before Tokyo was named as host city for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games.

The Iraqi-born British architect saw 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."

Set to replace the existing Kasumigaoka National Stadium, the new building will be located alongside Kenzo Tange's iconic 1964 Olympic stadium in Tokyo's Yoyogi Park.

Zaha Hadid Architects previously designed the Aquatics Centre for the London Olympics in 2012.

  • oli

    *Get popcorn, sit down, wait.*

  • Steeevyo

    A competition design is getting scaled back…
    Something that has never happened before it seems. What else is new?

  • DK405

    Sad to see the Japanese government capitulating to a bunch of entitled old men. This is how the architecture field works in Japan. Zaha has broken a Japanese taboo, she is not Japanese and she has no penis. Therefore, the old boys club must express their control over her. Don’t understand? Come work in Japan. That is, if you can ever find an office that will actually pay a foreigner.

    • tung

      You should read Fumihiko Maki’s article about the new national stadium, who is the designer of the surrounding Tokyo metropolitan gymnasium and pool.

    • Colonel Pancake

      It’s no less bigoted to attribute opposition to an awful stadium design to sexism than to simply be sexist and oppose a design because of it. You’re using gender as a tacky rhetorical bludgeon to rid the field of opposition of all those who are prone to following the path of least resistance in an era of rampant cowardice. Grow up.

    • Nathaniel

      It’s a massive stadium and outrageously insensitive to its surroundings. I hardly think this has anything to do with gender or expressing control over people. Remember the people complaining about the scale of the proposal actually live in Japan, whilst Zaha doesn’t, so they have every right to express their concern.

    • pipo

      The Japanese government IS a bunch of entitled old men. Maybe the architecture field in Japan is controlled by the old boys club, but they do have a point here. Scaling down the stadium somewhat will make it a more worthy contribution to the Tokyo cityscape.

  • ba-dum-tsss

    Funny how Toyo Ito didn’t seem to think that ‘the basic requirement of the competition is too big for the surroundings” when he participated in the competition.

  • djnn24

    Scrap it altogether?

    • Aster

      YES. A horseshoe crab!

  • papou

    Check out Sanaa’s proposal – it was really great.

  • Steeevyo

    The Dezeen article is making the same mistake as every other publication I have seen in pretending the announced changes have something to do with Mr. Maki and the other architects.

    Truth is it has nothing to do with their intervention. The competition was won a year ago. The project underwent many iterations up until this point. This happened between client and architects. Mr. Maki or Sou “interns don’t deserve money” Fujimoto were not part of this process. We can only hope they also won’t be in the future.

  • _FA

    Agree. Zaha’s design lacks sensitivity and is way to bulky. The site is close to the Meiji shrine, the Shinjuku Park and the Akasaka palace. Her design comes with the “look here I am” attitude and totally ignores and even more destroys the green context.
    I would give the comission to Sanaa, then nobody can come with the “dead end” sexism argument.

  • will

    The thing about the Japanese is they never say what they really want to do until it’s almost too late.

  • Will MacCormac

    It wasn’t his brief.

  • micol28

    I wonder what the Romans thought when the coliseum was built?