Zaha Hadid launches public appeal for reinstatement on Tokyo Olympic stadium

A little over a month after Zaha Hadid Architects’ (ZHA) design for Japan’s National Stadium was scrapped the London-based studio has taken the unusual step of launching a public appeal for it to be reinstated.

ZHA insists its design for the 2020 Olympics stadium, which was accepted on 7 July but then rejected 10 days later over concerns about spiralling costs, was developed carefully over two years and remains "the most compact and efficient stadium for this very special location in Tokyo".

We believe the answer is to introduce more competition between the contractors but to not lose the benefits of the design– Zaha Hadid Architects

On 28 July ZHA hit back at the decision to scrap its design, blaming the spiralling cost on an uncompetitive contract tendering process, skyrocketing building costs in Tokyo, and on its being prevented from working with the contractor to keep costs to a minimum.

Now, in a detailed report and a 23-minute video, produced with Arup Sports and released this week, the studio calls on Japan to avoid repeating mistakes made on previous stadiums, and asks officials to reconsider their position because "the design should be seen as the only way to achieve value for money in the market."

The report, printed in English and Japanese, explores issues including lighting, seating, spectator comfort and the stadium’s location in a dense urban setting.

"We understand the need for the government to undertake a new process to get a better price but it should not take an unnecessary risk on the design and it will be more for the taxpayers money by retaining the current design," the firm said, adding that to start the design from scratch would hamper the government’s aim of delivering the stadium for less than $2bn.

"We believe the answer is to introduce more competition between the contractors but to not lose the benefits of the design," the firm said.

"ZHA welcomes a new contractor bidding process for the New National Stadium to reduce costs and ensure value for money in terms of quality, durability and long-term sustainability."

The company also conceded that the design could be adapted to save money, by cutting air conditioned seating or removal of a skyline bridge.

ZHA said: "The stadium design is compact and efficient. It can not be improved upon unless the fundamental criteria of seating capacity alter, or a more competitive bidding situation is created to lower the price."

The stadium is due to host the 2020 Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies, as well as many other sporting events.

In November last year, Tokyo announced it would slash $1.7bn from Olympic construction budget.

Images via Zaha Hadid Architects

Story for GCR? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in News