Architect Hadid ‘hopes to remain involved’ in stadium

Kyodo, JIJI

Zaha Hadid, the architect whose plans for the National Stadium have been scrapped, hopes to remain involved in the planning for the centerpiece for the 2020 Olympics, the Japan Sport Council said Thursday.

The council said Jim Heverin, a director of Hadid’s company, conveyed her wishes on a fact-finding visit to Japan following the cancellation.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unceremoniously ripped up the plans for a building whose costs had soared without explanation, saying Japan would start again “from scratch.”

There had been a surge in public criticism when the stadium’s projected construction costs rose to ¥252 billion from an initial estimate of ¥130 billion.

Japan Sport Council (JSC) executive Keisuke Yoshio said Heverin, who traveled to Japan to find out what happened, expressed regret at the decision and said the company wanted to make use of the work it had done so far.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that Japan faces a ¥5.9 billion bill for the work done so far and contracts already signed.

Sources at the JSC said the amount will be difficult to recoup, given that design and other work linked to pre-existing contracts is largely complete.

Of that figure, the council is legally bound to pay ¥3.65 billion for design work and fees under contracts with architectural design office Nikken Sekkei Ltd. and three other firms.

Fees to Hadid’s firm total ¥1.47 billion. The council must also pay ¥791 million in technical assistance fees to construction firms Taisei Corp. and Takenaka Corp.

Separately, the council concluded a ¥3.29 billion materials procurement contract related to the now abandoned plan with Taisei on July 9. The council will likely have to pay some of this amount.

Furthermore, Hadid could seek damages over the cancellation of the original stadium plan. Such litigation would increase the council’s financial burden even further.

The government will lay out costs and requirements for the new National Stadium by this fall, whereupon it will hold an international tender to select a design and contractors. It aims to have the stadium complete by spring 2020, education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura said Tuesday.

Construction was originally supposed to begin this October, with completion in May 2019 — in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The government has now dropped this goal.

The scrapped design featured two gigantic arches over the stadium and resembled, detractors mockingly said, a bicycle helmet.

The futuristic design was selected from among 46 applicants at an international competition in November 2012, before Tokyo had won the bid to host the Olympics in 2020.

  • Alfonso

    Wow! In my country We have the image of Japan as very efficient but they are same as any banana country , third world country or “emerging economy” : bureaucratic, inefficient and slow