By Nick Butler

A latest projection of the new National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 stadium ©Japan Sport CouncilThe Japan Sports Council has unveiled a smaller design for the National Stadium in Tokyo, centrepiece for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics, after much criticism of the initial designs.

The Stadium, due to host athletics, football, rugby sevens and both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at Tokyo 2020, has been the subject of much criticism that the original proposals were too big and two extravagant. 

Designed by Zaha Hadid, the firm who designed the Aquatics Centre for London 2012, it was projected last October that the new Stadium will cost as much as 300 billion yen (£2 billion/$3 billion/€2.2 billion), over double initial projections. 

Two petitions have also been launched calling for the designs to be changed.

The first of these, started by two other leading architects Fumihiko Maki and Toyo Ito, has gained more than 15,200 signatures.

It appears the authorities have taken on board some of this criticism, as the new designs represent a 20 per cent reduction from the initial proposal.

The new spaceship-style stadium will be very different to the one used at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, in 1964 ©Getty ImagesThe new spaceship-style stadium will be very different to the one used at the last Olympic Games in Tokyo, in 1964 ©Getty Images

The Stadium now occupies a 211,000 square metre floor area. while the cost has been reduced by almost 50 per cent to 162.5 billion yen (£956 million/$1.6 billion/€1.1 billion).

The height of the stadium has also been now reduced to 70 metres, five metres lower than the original plan.

This was done so as not to harm the surrounding landscape of the area, which includes the ginkgo trees in the nearby Meiji Jingu Gaien, after environmental concerns was one key area highlighted in the two petitions. 

Yet the futuristic spaceship style of the initial design remains, as do other features including state-of-the-art technology including environmentally conscious air-conditioning and seats that can be moved towards the field for a better view.

Out of the total capacity of 80,000 seats, about 15,000 of these will be movable, according to the latest design proposal.

Following a special ceremony to mark the closing of the old Stadium earlier this month, demolition work is set to start in July.

The new Stadium is scheduled to be completed in March 2019, in time to be used at the Rugby World Cup later that autumn, before the Games take place the following year.

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