When the Japan Sport Council (JSC) released two shortlisted proposals for the new 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium last week, rumors speculating that Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma designed the proposals turned out to be true. The Japanese government announced today that Kengo Kuma will design the new stadium, five months after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the anxiety-inducing decision to scrap Zaha Hadid's hotly criticized proposal and start from scratch.
According to The Japan Times, the Japan Sport Council — which is overseeing the project's construction — will finalize the contract with the Kengo Kuma and Associates consortium next month. Construction is set to begin "as early as" December 2016.
Read on for more.
The JSC seven-member panel, who specializes in architecture and landscape, evaluated Kengo Kuma's and Toyo Ito's proposals for 90 minutes each this past Saturday. Each proposal, initially referred to as "design A" and "design B" respectively, was judged on nine criteria — especially on cost and time, as well as the integration of Japanese characteristics.
Design A had the higher score, and Kengo Kuma — along with construction firm Taisei Corp and construction support firm Azusa Sekkei Co. — scored the high-profile commission.
While Toyo Ito's proposal used new construction materials to speed up the building-time period, the Kengo Kuma team had a more "orthodox method" and scored higher in estimated construction time, according to architect and critic Takashi Moriyama. He tells the Japan Times that the panel most likely deemed Kuma's design as "being less risky". After the first design flopped and with 2016 around the corner, the clock is ticking.
Kuma's circular design also abundantly features wood latticework accented with green shrubbery on its exterior, and a flat roof. Overall cost of the new stadium is currently estimated at ¥153 billion. The central Japanese government will pay half, while the rest will be shouldered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and revenue from the JSC-organized sports promotion lottery. The Telegraph previously estimated that the new stadium will be around 164 feet tall, compared to the initial 230-foot height of the scrapped proposal.
While the Japanese government may be satisfied with their choice, Zaha Hadid sees otherwise in a press release published on her firm's website.
"In fact much of our two years of detailed design work and the cost savings we recommended have been validated by the remarkable similarities of our original detailed stadium layout and our seating bowl configuration with those of the design announced today.
"Work would already be underway building the stadium if the original design team had simply been able to develop this original design...", Hadid stated.
But if all goes smoothly, the new Tokyo stadium will be completed by November 2019. Fingers crossed.
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