Two new Olympic stadium designs unveiled by Japan Sport Council


Staff Writer

The Japan Sport Council on Monday unveiled two new stadium designs for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics that blend in better with the greenery-rich Yoyogi area and currently don’t break the ¥155 billion budget.

“Both designs use wood in their construction materials, and I think that’s an interesting aspect” of the technical proposals on the council’s website, said architect and critic Takashi Moriyama.

“I think the idea of using wood in large structures may globally impact architecture,” he said.

The two new designs, which are apparently Japanese in origin, are simply called A and B. But the companies involved remain a secret.

Japanese media reports say the designs were submitted by a joint venture involving Taisei Corp., and a another venture comprising Takenaka Corp., Shimizu Corp. and Obayashi Corp. This could not be confirmed.

Moriyama noted both designs take into account the natural environment of their surroundings, which are protected by the urban development law, but in different ways.

Design A features outside walls embellished with plants in multiple layers, while B is notable in that it dispenses with walls around its oval outline, which is formed by 72 wooden pillars.

“Personally I like design B because it allows people to enjoy walking around the facility or gather,” Moriyama said. “I like it also because it carries over the atmosphere of the old National Stadium.”

Once bitten, twice shy, the government-affiliated sports body, nervous after embarrassing revelations highlighted the sloppy handling of the preparatory work for the world’s biggest sporting event, took the unusual step of disclosing the new design proposals, which are still under screening.

The design tender was opened in September and closed on Nov. 16, with the two entrants responding.

The two proposals will undergo screening by an expert panel and checks by relevant Cabinet ministers, with the final selection to be made by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, the giant, ill-fated design of British-based architect Zaha Hadid was rejected amid the mounting public outcry over snowballing costs and its futuristic appearance, which critics said was too loud for the nature-protected Yoyogi area.

The project also lacked detailed explanations about the selection process.

After probing the selection process, a government-appointed independent investigative panel concluded in September that neither the education ministry nor JSC had the ability to lead the construction project. Education minister Hakubun Shimomura subsequently stepped down.

As the clamor grew over the stadium’s astronomical construction costs, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe axed Hadid’s design in July to restart the process.

The British-Iraqi architect’s futuristic design, characterized by two arches supporting a roof resembling a cycling helmet, won the competition in 2012 and had an initial estimated cost of ¥130 billion.

The projected size was scaled down in 2014 after the estimate more than doubled to ¥300 billion, but after the new estimate of ¥163 billion was again inflated to ¥252 billion in 2015, her design was rejected.

Construction of the new stadium was originally planned to start this fall for completion in spring 2019.

  • Stephen Chadfield

    A bamboo stadium would have been cool…

  • LoveCats

    I like this stadium because it looks like sushi at the top.

  • Susukino

    I prefer the top one!

  • Don Corleone

    I thought a convertible top would’ve been essential, considering the way it rains all the time.

  • GBR48

    Both of these are nicer, more in keeping with their surroundings and more vernacular in style than Hadid’s design.

  • Alfonso

    Somehow very good design for both but being honest quite lame for the Caliber that Japanese architecture has, with so many Famous and acclaimed Architects I was expecting so much more.

  • DA

    They both look awful. Bring us back the space helmet.

  • Scythian

    I prefer the first one, it’s more pleasant-looking because of the greenery and fits better into environment. Hadid’s design was too huge and all that concrete would absorb so much heat in summer.

  • Al_Martinez

    I like the top one, but I guarantee you that there won’t be that much green in the final version. I would say that the biggest discrepancies between artist renderings and final results exist in Japan.

    Years ago, they did a big overhaul of a nearby station area and put up an artist rendering of what it would look like when done. The rendering had wide green areas of public space for people to enjoy. Today there is a small concrete paved square and parking garages where the green space was supposed to be.

  • JustSomeGuy

    They both look real nice but I prefer the second design. I just thought that maybe it can be a space around for anyone to go under in case it rains but that’s just me. Other than that, I like the design overall.

  • Boring. Dull. Uninspiring. Artless. Merely functional. Equally sore on the eyes.

  • Boring. Dull. Uninspiring. Artless. Merely functional. Equally sore on the eyes.

  • Jamie Bakeridge

    Functional and cheap looking. I guess that is what they are after and that is what they have got!

  • J.P. Bunny

    I also like the top one. It doesn’t stand out and give one a headache, as the original did. As long as it does what it is supposed to do….fine.

  • Leandro Llorente

    a lot more sensitive to context in this scheme. sometimes the elite “avant-garde” design becomes a cliche especially to international competitions when the brief calls for deeper sensibility.