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Japan opts for modest Olympic stadium after dumping Zaha Hadid

Japan opts for modest Olympic stadium after dumping Zaha Hadid


Surrounded by greenery and made out of steel and wood, it harkens back to traditional Japanese temple design

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The new design for Japan's upcoming National Stadium, intended to host the 2020 Summer Olympics, has been confirmed today by the country's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. In an obvious reversion from the futuristic, alien-looking Zaha Hadid design that won the original contest for the stadium's construction, the present plan is very much understated and tries to blend into its bucolic environs. Made out of steel and wood, with the main playing area sunken into the ground, the new Tokyo stadium will stand a relatively modest 50 meters / 164 feet high.

Japan's prime minister has spoken in glowing terms of the approved proposal, describing it as an "excellent plan that satisfies the principle philosophy, construction, deadline, and cost of the Olympic plan." There's a deliberate harkening back to traditional Japanese temple designs with the prominent use of timber, but the simplicity has also clearly been enforced by Japan's shrinking budget of both time and money. The scrapped Zaha Hadid stadium would have by now been under construction and might have been ready in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. That timeline will definitely be missed by the new project, however Prime Minister Abe says he's confident it will be finished well ahead of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A picture of rediscovered modesty

The newly approved proposal is the work of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, reports the BBC, and is expected to cost ¥149 billion (roughly $1.2 billion). It's a higher price than the original ¥100 billion budget for the stadium, though it represents a major cost saving from the eventual ¥252 billion demanded to complete the Zaha Hadid design.

Now all that's necessary is an actual logo and maybe the Tokyo 2020 Games can finally get back on track.