Japanese architect Kengo Kuma chosen to design Tokyo Olympic stadium

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma has been chosen to replace Zaha Hadid’s design for the national stadium that will be the centerpiece of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) concept was scrapped in July this year owing to increasing costs.

They don’t want a foreigner to build in Tokyo for a national stadium. The fact that they lost is their problem – they lost the competition– Zaha Hadid

ZHA said it had warned Japanese officials about rising costs and had already scaled back the original design. However, Hadid added that she believed other factors apart from the price had been in play.

She said: "They don’t want a foreigner to build in Tokyo for a national stadium. The fact that they lost is their problem – they lost the competition."

The firm later launched a public appeal for reinstatement.

Today ZHA commented: "This shocking treatment of an international design and engineering team, as well as the respected Japanese design companies with whom we worked, was not about design or budget.

"In fact much of our two years of detailed design work and the cost savings we recommended have been validated by the remarkable similarities of our original detailed stadium layout and our seating bowl configuration with those of the design announced today.

"Work would already be under way building the stadium if the original design team had simply been able to develop this original design, avoiding the increased costs of an 18 month delay and risk that it may not be ready in time for the 2020 Games.

Zaha Hadid Architects’ original design (ZHA)

"Sadly the Japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in Japan, have colluded to close the doors on our project."

Kengo Kuma beat another Japanese architect, Toyo Ito, in an anonymous competition.

The designs were judged by a review panel put together by the Japanese Sport Council.

According to the Japan Times, a range of factors were considered, including cost, time and "Japanese-ness".

The 2020 games have been the subject of controversy, with the budget now six times the original estimate and that construction may endanger the Malaysian rainforest.

Top image: Kengo Kuma’s National Stadium design (Japan Sport Council/Kyodo)

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  1. Smartest decision made by the Japanese officials!

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