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Volume 10 No. 25
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Tokyo Chooses U.K.-Based Architect As New National Stadium Plans Are Unveiled

Tokyo 2020 announced U.K. architect Zaha Hadid from Zaha Hadid Architects was selected as the winner of the design contest to update and remodel Tokyo's Kasumigaoka National Stadium. If Tokyo is selected as host of the 2020 Olympic Games, the new Kasumigaoka National Stadium would host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, athletics, football and rugby events. The contest was overseen by architect and Tokyo 2020 council member Tadao Ando. Renovations to the Kasumigaoka National Stadium are scheduled to be completed in March '19 before the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Tokyo. The Japan Sports Council has set the construction budget at 130B yen ($1.6B) (Tokyo 2020). The AFP wrote the renovated stadium will have the same seating capacity (80,000) as Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium, and an all-weather roof. Additionally, architects were told that the new structure "would have to be environmentally efficient and match the surrounding landscape" (AFP, 11/15).

BREAKING THE BANK: In London, Dave Phillips wrote the choice of Hadid, who is known in the U.K. for designing the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, "may prove to be a controversial one." However, her firm's deal with the Aquatics Centre was "subject to significant budget overruns." The Aquatics Centre was anticipated to cost £72M ($114M), but the final figure spiralled to £270M ($428M), a figure which "may have been even higher had earlier designs for the venue's temporary wings been followed." Despite Japan's "staggering national debt," the stadium is set to become the world's most-expensive venue at current exchange rates. It will surpass the $1.6B paid in the U.S. for MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL's N.Y. Giants and N.Y. Jets. Kasumigaoka National Stadium will not become the home of any of Japan's major professional sports teams, instead playing host to events which could possibly include a FIFA World Cup, Int'l Association of Athletics Federations World Championships and concerts by performers who can fill what will become an 80,000 capacity arena (GUARDIAN, 11/15).

HISTORIC SITE: In N.Y., Yoree Koh wrote Kasumigaoka National Stadium is a structure that will "take on considerable symbolic importance for Japan." It will be built on the site of the stadium that "played a key part" in the hosting of the Olympics in Tokyo in '64, a landmark of the country’s post-World War II recovery that is "due to be knocked down to make way for the new stadium" in '15 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/15).

Click here to see all 11 designs submitted for Japan's National Stadium.