Japan’s Sport Council has had a turbulent few years deciding on a design for its Olympics stadium, but it’s finally chosen one. This sympathetic structure will be the focal point of the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Just last week, the country’s Sport Council released two new proposals for the stadium, which were designed to be smaller and more sensitive to the surroundings than the original Zaha Hadid design. The new stadium, pictured above and created by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will cost around ¥149bn — that’s $1.7bn. The price tag is substantially less than the Zaha Hadid design, which would have cost more like $4.2 billion.
Unlike the sci-fi styling of Zaha Hadid’s design, the newly chosen stadium will be rather understated. Made from steel and wood, the main arena will be sunken into the ground, so that the total height of the structure will be just 50m — 18m shorter than the previous design. It also camouflages itself with plantings along the façade. Japan’s Prime Minister has referred to the design as “a wonderful plan that meets criteria such as basic principles, construction period and cost”.
The whole debacle has proven to be somewhat of a procedural departure compared to conventional stadium design processes, which may end up having a profound impact on the way cities build the temples to sport.