tokyo national stadium: kengo kuma replaces zaha hadid tokyo national stadium: kengo kuma replaces zaha hadid
dec 22, 2015

tokyo national stadium: kengo kuma replaces zaha hadid

the japanese government has chosen kengo kuma to design the tokyo national stadium, the building which will form the centerpiece of the city’s 2020 olympic games. the architect saw off competition from compatriot toyo ito, who had also presented his vision for the venue. the project had been controversially taken away from british architect zaha hadid, amid concerns of increasing costs. kengo kuma and associates developed their proposal alongside construction company taisei corporation.

kengo kuma tokyo national stadium japan sport council designboom
the design is characterized by several tiers that contain planted vegetation
all images © japan sport council



kuma’s scheme narrowly beat ito’s design, with the japan sport council panel judging the projects on the following criteria: reduction in cost and construction time, maintenance costs, holistic design concept, environmental program, structural design, and architectural planning. the final factor considered was a perceived sensitivity to japanese characteristics, perhaps something that counted against hadid and her design. the budget for the completed stadium has been set at ¥155 billion.

kengo kuma tokyo national stadium japan sport council designboom
the budget for the completed stadium has been set at ¥155 billion



since the announcement, zaha hadid has provided a statement accusing japanese authorities of ‘colluding’ to ensure that her plans were not realized. read the release in full below:


‘we were honored to be selected to design a stadium that would enable japan to welcome the world for the 2019 rugby world cup and bring the 2020 olympic games to tokyo, before becoming a new home for japanese sport for many future generations. sadly the japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in japan, have colluded to close the doors on the project to the world.


‘this shocking treatment of an international design and engineering team, as well as the respected japanese design companies with whom we worked, was not about design or budget. 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, avoiding the increased costs of an 18 month delay and risk that it may not be ready in time for the 2020 games.’zaha hadid

kengo kuma tokyo national stadium japan sport council designboom
toyo ito had also presented his vision for the venue

kengo kuma tokyo national stadium japan sport council designboom
zaha hadid’s original design was dropped amid concerns of increasing costs


  • Good for Tokyo. The last thing this city needs on top of a dormant, hiding Godzilla is a giant bicycle helmet at the center of the city.

    E says:

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