New images of Zaha Hadid's modified
Tokyo Olympic stadium design


News: these new renders of the controversial Tokyo Olympic stadium by Zaha Hadid Architects show changes to the shape of the building, which has been altered following a budget cut (+ slideshow).

Earlier this week Zaha Hadid confirmed it was adapting its design for the 80,000 seat Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium.


The London-based firm says its new "refined" design will "optimise the investment and make the stadium even more efficient, user-focussed, adaptable and sustainable."

"Lightweight, tensile fabric between the stadium's structure significantly reduces the weight and materials of the roof, giving the stadium even greater flexibility as both an outdoor and indoor venue," said a Zaha Hadid spokesman.

dezeen_Japan National Stadium Zaha Hadid Tokyo 2020_1sq
The original design with its swooping roof and elevated walkway

The images appear to show a significant change in the structure, with simplifications to the walkway that surrounds the stadium building. The firm declined to comment on whether the scale of the building will be cut back.

The original design had come under attack by leading Japanese architects including Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma and Sou Fujimoto.


Opponents to the design, which triumphed in a 2008 competition for the project, said it would be "too big" in relation to its surroundings, which include Kenzo Tange's iconic 1964 Olympic stadium.

In November last year, the Japanese government slashed the budget for the project, despite having already approved Hadid's competition-winning design.


Sports minister Hakubun Shimomura told the Japanese parliament that 300 billion yen (£1.8 billion) was "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."


Despite his comments, over 500 people took to the streets of Tokyo to protest against the project last week.

  • marcelogardinetti

    The rejection of this urban solutions accentuated by the prodigality of forms.

    • Kris

      Show you workings, where are your baseline documents?

  • berrincchatzi

    The first one was better!

    • Kris

      Thinking outside the box on this one.

  • ’80

    This is interesting because, silly me, I thought that with one great design there is nothing to modify! And, that we don’t do anything or everything, just to get a commission (there is a name for that kind of business).

    So basically, since the early 90s, she does everything, in any way possible, worse than the one before. Funny, cause the 80s were more promising.

    By the way, how long are we going to admire this? I thought it was out-out-out like 5 years ago!? I mean, we all have computers, expensive programs, splines etc.

    Ah yes, this must be AA-architecture! Hmmm…

  • Uriel

    It’s crazy to think that, if the second proposal is “more efficient, suitable and sustainable,” why didn’t they do it from the beginning?

    • Kris

      Give me a thought shower on this.

  • Nick

    People complained when they should have shut up. She’s truncated her design and disengaged the thing from the landscape. It’s unfortunate.

    • Kris

      I’ve got you on my radar.

    • Gilbert

      So people who are actually going to have to live where she’s building her project don’t matter? Such a typical designer comment. We know better than you so just shut the f*** up and deal with my billion dollar monstrosity.

      This same scenario has happened in my country several times and now we, “the ignorant people who just don’t get it”, are stuck with an architect’s pipe dream.

    • Ilya Bourim

      Initial design was done before the winning city country was picked. It was literally a spaceship, landed in whatever country they picked.

  • wat

    I hated it before, now I like it. Clean, simplified, pure, uncluttered.

    • Kris

      Best not let the grass grow to long on this one.

  • Kris

    Blue-sky thinking.

  • Joe

    I like this one, its refined and doesn’t come across as a spacecraft so much.

    • Kris

      She’s getting all her ducks in a row.

  • rrrrich

    Somewhere between a futuristic bedpan and a urinal. I can definitely envisage a giant turd dropping through that roof.

  • Vers un nouveau moule de jello.

    • maj

      Vers un nouveau monde dans lequel tous les “idle architectes” sont employée comme écrivain!

  • jaguar706

    I liked the original better. The more radical the better. Pushing the envelope is always helping future designs.

  • maj

    Yup, it is AA architecture alright! It is an economically realistic, elegant design. An optimum architectural solution arrived within the shortest time within the budget.

    Something that other “armchair wannabe architects” are incapable of producing! It is always easy to nitpicking a design without offering a detailed workable solution!

  • andre-david kessler

    The second project is smaller but also as stupid and ugly as the first one. It’s too big and I don’t understand why Japanese people did not just give a second life to the Kenzo Tange stadium?

    • maj

      Perhaps the Japanese wouldn’t give Kenzo Tange’s work a second life, for the same reason that you wouldn’t retrofit your grandpa’s 1960’s old Chevy with a hybrid engine and a new paint job, instead of buying a new car!

  • blaum74

    Now it looks even more like a cross between a bedpan and the hood of a Camaro. Is there a plan C?

  • Guest Review

    The design looks like a copy of a diaphragm container. All they need now is a skyscraper shaped like a tube of spermicide.

  • Shin Yong Ho

    Excessive then, mediocre now. Better scrap this crap.

  • Tom

    Someone seems to have put those images together in a hurry.

  • Clichy

    Why do second rate critics of Hadid rely on scatalogical comment?

  • pete

    Looks smaller?

  • maj

    With any more simplification and budget cuts, the latest design would look like the Kanye West New York apartment soon!

  • micanichi

    I wasn’t referring to “the people” but the cast of male Japanese architects chiming in on the design well before the street protests. I don’t think we would have heard a peep had that been Foster or Gehry.

    The first version was part – of – the – urban – fabric (I feel as if I need to say that very slowly). The new scheme is clearly sub-urban in it’s detachment from the landscape. This isolated condition (perhaps favorable to the Japanese) is unsustainable in a city of this density.

    This may work for Tokyo now but what about 50 or 100 years? At least they’ll have learend how to recycle the entire thing by then.

  • Jun Hirasawa

    No need to modify the previous design. Frankly speaking it looks just like a bicycle helmet. We Tokyo citizens had to discuss the two topics separately; one is the rejection of an urban solution and the other is the rejection of the Tokyo Olympic Games themselves. I feel mixing up both has caused a disappointing result for all.

  • The trouble with democracies is having to listen to stupid people.

  • bran flakes

    Whether or not this is actually good design will always be up for debate, but this plainly does not belong in Japan… Dubai perhaps. This accentuates absolutely nothing of the local culture or their philosophy of design.

    How is this sustainable?

  • maj

    I agree that this design looks a bit like a bike helmet as someone said. But then again, Kenzo Tange’s stadium could be compared to an Indian teepee tent or an upside-down cheap geisha fan. Human imagination always associates a new form to others. I disagree with the statement that any design should automatically be a copy of an object to accentuate a cultural connection or rejected. Let’s not reject a design on the basis of a cheap comparison.

  • Jingbo

    Reminds me of the UNStudio solution – – an urban park to make the volume smaller, how original!

  • Ilya Bourim

    I like it! Much better!

  • Marco Matheus

    I really try to like it but this design doesn’t work for me, even with the redesign.

  • JayCee

    As I predicted in my comments during the original furore, the design has been modified under the guise of “budget cuts” and “value engineering” in order to spare the embarrassment of the host country. Not to say I told you so, but I did.