No more Zaha Hadid’s design for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium.


I knew this is quite an old story. I never had the time to share this out when the news first broke out early last month. Now only I did have the time to post this up and place a bit of my thought regarding it. The issue is that the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe decided that the design of the main stadium to be used for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games to be started again from the scratch due to spiraling costs. Conclusion: the original approved design for the main stadium by Zaha Hadid (shown below with original proposal to final amended design) is now scrapped and things are getting back to drawing board.

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Zaha Hadid must be very sad and frustrated over this decision. Yet, she simply can’t do anything now besides than defending her design and trying to convince everyone that her design will not costs a lot of money to build. Before all these happened, there was actually quite a strong opposition to the Zaha Hadid’s design earlier especially by the local Japanese architects that see the design as being too massive in scale, having no context to the site and does not represents anything on Japanese. I agree with the points. The design is interesting, daring and fluid (well, that’s Zaha Hadid’s iconic style) but it just doesn’t feel relatable to Japan.

But their opposing views (including from Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, Fumihiko Maki) were not bothered and the design proceeds. The design had also been amended due to budget cut and also to respect the site with smaller scale but still receiving heavy amount of criticisms. Now, they must be relieved and happy that her present design will not be built. So now, what’s happening? Is Zaha Hadid going to design another option which would be more cost-saving or other architects would join in as well and the design competition starts again? I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that local Japanese architects should exhibit their best design talents for a stadium where the world will see in 2020 during the prestigious Olympics. I wonder why the local architects lost out in the competition earlier to Zaha Hadid. It’s the opportunity now for them to gain back the honor to design for the stadium to show to the world that Japanese architect can design their own stadium beautifully. They should work out to their best.

There is no doubt that Zaha Hadid is one great architect. In fact, she is no doubt the most famous living female architect right now. Her designs are usually astonishing and look fantastic from all angles. I’m actually impressed with her design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium despite not engaging to the context of the site as explained earlier. But when cost factor comes in, her design is usually very expensive to be built. Hence, the design will not be materialized. Too bad. But wait…time is running out as we have less than five years left before Tokyo 2020. How are they going to come out with another brilliant design if there is now a huge restriction on time and also on cost. I hope they won’t come out with design like London 2012 Olympic Stadium which looks nothing more than a round bowl of skeletal structures.

Beijing 2008’s ‘Bird Nest’ stadium is simply the best.

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On the other hand, progress is currently underway for the construction of many new sporting venues for the Rio 2016 Olympics next year. This games is much sooner and it is now only less than a year before the games begins. I think Brazil will deliver the games well with fantastic stadiums in fantastic setting of beautiful beaches and mountains. Time flies. It has been 7 years since Beijing 2008 and 3 years since London 2012. I’m now looking forward to watch wonderful ceremonies (opening and closing) and sporting events from Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)

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