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SBD Global/June 2, 2014/Facilities

Japan Sport Council Releases New Smaller Design For 2020 Tokyo Stadium

Fans gather on the pitch during the National Stadium farewell on Saturday.

The Japan Sport Council "has released a basic design proposal for the new National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, which will serve as the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics," according to the YOMIURI SHIMBUN. The total floor area is about 211,000 square meters, "reflecting a reduction" of more than 20% from the initial design proposal in '12. The new proposal, released Wednesday, "also gives consideration to the protection of the surrounding environment and landscape." Plans include the introduction of advanced technologies, "such as an environmentally conscious air conditioning system and seats that can be moved toward the field to give spectators a greater sense of immediacy." Out of a total of 80,000 seats, about 15,000 "will be movable." In consideration of the fact that the 2020 Olympics will be held in summer, "an air conditioning system that sends cold air from the backs of seats will be installed." The system conserves energy by utilizing heat from vaporization and "cooling the air with pipes underground, where the temperature is lower." In response to criticism that the larger size of the new stadium would harm the surrounding environment, "the height was reduced to a maximum of 70 meters, five meters lower than the initial proposal." This will protect the surrounding landscape and scenery, "including ginkgo trees in the Meiji Jingu Gaien area" (YOMIURI SHIMBUN, 5/30). REUTERS' Ruairidh Villar wrote a Tokyo architect running a petition drive against the structure said the revised plan is still so wasteful and large for the site that it is a "sin" -- one that also destroys the power of the original design. Tokyo-based architect Edward Suzuki said that "the new proposal is still flawed, especially given the number of trees that will have to be cut in one of the city's rare green areas." Suzuki: "I've never felt so emotional about any kind of architecture up until now. But it's happening in my garden, in our garden ... We just can't let it happen. It's a sin, it's a crime." The Japan Sport Council said that the stadium "needs a roof so it can be used for concerts after the Games, though critics say this may not be practical given Japan's falling population." Suzuki said, "We're paying our taxes and spending our savings for the next generation. I'm sure they're going to be stuck with this debt and this non-sustainable facility, they're going to be blaming us when we are in our graves" (REUTERS, 5/31).

'EMOTIONAL' FAREWELL:The AFP reported sports fans "bid an emotional farewell to Tokyo’s National Stadium over the weekend with a lavish ceremony to close the venue before demolition begins next month." The stadium, "built to host the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, will be dismantled over 15 months." A day of spectacular laser shows, fireworks, sports and music brought the curtain down on the 56-year-old stadium "before fans were invited onto the pitch to snap photos, lift replica trophies and walk around barefoot once the proceedings were over" (AFP, 6/1).

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