LONDON – Architect Zaha Hadid, whose design for the new National Stadium was scrapped over sky-high costs, has lashed out at a replacement chosen Tuesday. She alleged collusion by authorities and Japanese architects to kill off her project.
A blueprint by rival Kengo Kuma was picked after a storm over the ¥265 billion cost of Hadid’s futuristic design, which would have been the world’s most expensive sports venue.
“Sadly the Japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in Japan, have colluded to close the doors on the project to the world,” Hadid said in a statement.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Indeed, when Kuma’s design, to be built by a joint venture led by construction giant Taisei Corp., was named the winner, the chairman of the selection committee, Shuzo Murakami, said time was a critical consideration.
“There was no concern over that plan not being finished quickly,” Murakami said. “However, with (the competing design), the possibility of delays existed.”
Two new plans, with sharply lower cost estimates than Hadid’s, were short-listed last week by the Japan Sport Council, which is overseeing the project.
After deliberations, the JSC chose the slightly cheaper of the two, with an estimated cost of ¥149 billion.
Construction of the 68,000-seat stadium is to be completed in November 2019, ahead of the January 2020 deadline demanded by the International Olympic Committee. Tokyo is due to host the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics on July 24 that year.