November 26 - Tokyo's new National Stadium, planned to be built as the centrepiece of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, could be scaled down by around 70,000 square metres, or 25 per cent, according to Japanese officials today.
The proposed controversial Stadium, designed by London-based Iraqi architect, Zaha Hadid, has faced heavy criticism over its design and huge budget, as well as its position in central Tokyo, where it replaces the old Stadium used for Tokyo's last Olympics in 1964.
The new 70-metre (230-foot) architectural centrepiece - a futuristic, bike-helmet-shaped stadium - has drawn criticism that it would tower over other structures in the area, which are limited to a 15-metre height restriction, and would be visible all over the Japanese capital.
In a meeting today held by the Japan Spots Council (JSC), it was proposed reducing the size of the Stadium from its planned 290,000 square feet to 220,000.
"While we are still using Zaha Hadid's design, we now plan to downsize it," a JSC official told an expert panel which approved the new blueprint.
Japanese media reports have indicated that the revised plans would cost around ¥180 billion($1.8 billion/£1.1 billion/€1.3 billion), a huge reduction from the estimated ¥300 billion ($3 billion/£1.8 billion/€2.2 billion) for the original building.
Japanese officials have however not release official revised costs for the new building.
The JSC explained that the capacity of the slimmed-down Stadium will remain at 80,000, and the retractable roof, which was being reconsidered, is also expected to stay after it was deemed necessary to accommodate non-sporting events by a number of people at the meeting, including Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda.
"Absolutely, we need the roof to meet all weather conditions," said Takeda, who had led Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
According to the JSC, the roof alone is expected to cost between ¥10 billion ($100 million/£60 million/€70 million) and ¥15 billion ($150 million/£90 million/€110 million).
The proposed new Stadium is set to be built in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup being held in Japan and is scheduled to hold the final.
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