A consortium of Japanese architects got together to protest Zaha Hadid’s winning design for the main stadium of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and despite all her fame and glory, the Japanese government listened.
Zaha Hadid has been in the news a lot recently. For many, she is an incredible, visionary designer whose work is unparalleled, and her projects are appearing all over the world – including Qatar.
But a group of Japanese architects banded together to protest the enormous scope and size of the 80,000 seat stadium in Tokyo, which will host both the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as the Games’ athletics, football and rugby events.
Fumihiko Maki, Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto and Kengo Kuma – all renowned for their own work – organized a meeting to convey how the stadium approved six months ago is poorly suited for the urban context in which it is slated to appear.
“We are NOT against Zaha,” said Fujimoto in a tweet. “We just think the basic requirement of the competition was too big for the surroundings.”
After listening to the Japanese consortium’s concerns about Hadid’s design, sports minister Hakubun Shimomura overruled the initial project approval – in part because the £1.8 billion construction budget is “too massive,” reports Dezeen.
“We need to rethink this to scale it down,” he said. “Urban planning must meet people’s needs.”
When they approved the project roughly six months ago, the design jury loved Hadid’s design. In addition to incorporating geothermal energy, recycled rainwater and grey water reuse, thereby upping the green ante in a first for the Iraqi architect, the stadium will serve multiple functions.
More than just a temporary stadium for the 2020 Olympics, the Tokyo National Olympic Stadium to be constructed in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park will also host the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
But for now – thanks to a few outspoken Japanese designers who value their city, Hadid has been forced to revisit the drawing board to produce something that is a little less cumbersome for its already-dense setting.