Zaha Hadid chosen to design Tokyo stadium set to be centrepiece of 2020 Olympics

Thursday, 15 November 2012
By Duncan Mackay

dezeen Japan-National-Stadium-by-Zaha-Hadid-Architects 2November 15 - Zaha Hadid, who designed the Aquatics Centre at London 2012, has won the international contest to redesign the Kasumigaoka National Stadium, which will be the main stadium if Tokyo wins its bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. 

The selection jury chose London-based Zaha Hadid Architects from a shortlist of 11 candidates because they claimed that "the architecture synthesises perfectly with the urban area surrounding the Stadium".

The Japan Sport Council (JSC), owner of the Kasumigaoka National Stadium, held the design competition to solicit plans for the updating and remodelling of the Stadium in preparation for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and other major public events.

Among those whose design Hadid was chosen ahead of was Populous, the designer of the Olympic Stadium at London 2012.

If Tokyo is selected as host of 2020, the new Kasumigaoka National Stadium, which will be rebuilt at a cost of 130 billion yen (£1.04 billion/$1.62 billion/€126.9 billion), will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletics, football and rugby.

The Stadium was originally built as the main venue for the 1958 Asian Games and then became the centrepiece of the 1964 Olympics, when Japan was the first Asian country to host the Games.

Zaha Hadid Tokyo 2020Zaha Hadid's design for Kasumigaoka National Stadium, which will host the Olympics and Paralympics if Tokyo's bid for 2020 is successful

"Japan's newly refurbished stadium will be the best of the best," said Tsunekazu Takeda, the President of Tokyo 2020 and Japanese Olympic Committee.

"It will have one of the largest spectator capacity in the world, and will also offer the finest hospitality.

"As for the athlete and spectator experience: the Kasumigaoka National Stadium will have a retractable roof.

"A state-of-the-art stadium like Kasumigaoka is another indication that Tokyo is ready to deliver a dynamic celebration that reinforces and renews the Olympic values for a new generation."

Hadid's design included adjustable seating up to 80,000 and a retractable roof and, the judges said, showed "consideration for the surrounding landscape and ease of traffic/transportation".

The Stadium is also located close to the Meiji Shrine, which is dedicated to the deified spirits Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken.

Zaha Hadid aquatics centreZaha Hadid's design for the London 2012 Aquatics Centre was described as "a masterpiece" by IOC President Jacques Rogge

Zaha Hadid Architects, based in London, has created 950 projects in 44 nations while Hadid is one of the world's most renowned architects.

She was the first woman awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004 for the Bridge Pavilion in Zaragoza, Spain.

Jacques Rogge, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), meanwhile described the £269 million ($426 million/€334 million) Aquatics Centre as "a masterpiece".

Renovations to the Kasumigaoka National Stadium are due to be completed in March 2019, before the opening of the Rugby World Cup in Tokyo.

The contest was overseen by world famous architect and Tokyo 2020 Council member Tadao Ando.

"The entry's dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world," he said.

"I firmly believe that Japan ranks at the top in terms of architectural and technical expertise.

"A few decades ago, the world lauded Japan for quickly and efficiently creating the Kasumigaoka National Stadium, and I am confident Japan will once again be praised for this new stadium."

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