tokyo 2020 showcases japanese craft in timber ariake gymnastics centre

tokyo 2020 showcases japanese craft in timber ariake gymnastics centre

tokyo 2020 showcases japanese craftsmanship in the construction of the ariaka gymnastic center. inspired by the site’s former identity as a timber storage district, the center uses 2,300m3 of wood sourced from throughout japan and boasts one of the largest timber roofs in the world.

tokyo 2020 showcases japanese craft in timber ariake gymnastics centre

images courtesy of tokyo 2020



the surrounding area around ariake gymnastics centre, which is in tokyo bay, was primarily primarily used to store wood, which inspired tokyo 2020‘s design concept of ‘wooden vessels in the bay’. on the exterior of the venue, japanese cedar from shizuoka, akita, and miyazaki prefectures was used to create the shape of a wooden vessel with an external concourse similar to an engawa, a japanese-style veranda. 


the roof is constructed from larch wood from nagano and hokkaido prefectures, and the spectator benches from cedar from mie prefecture. the larch wood used has been sourced entirely from hokkaido and nagano prefectures and will be returned to the prefectures after the games.

tokyo 2020 showcases japanese craft in timber ariake gymnastics centre



during the construction of the venue earlier this year, tokyo 2020 spoke to workers involved with the building process. for someya shuchi, who has three decades of experience in the construction industry, it was his first time being involved in a building project of this scale.


‘this is a tremendous facility with a lot of space. it has been constructed primarily with timber, which has been a first for me,’ he said. ‘I hope the tokyo 2020 spectators enjoy this venue and appreciate the unique and traditional japanese wood design.’

tokyo 2020 showcases japanese craft in timber ariake gymnastics centre


nagamachi yugo, who was part of the team who helped raise the arch late last year, said he began to see the venue come together when the arch was put into place:


‘just being able to sit on this seat in a facility i have been working on, really revealed the scale and gravity of this venue to me,’ he said. ‘as this is the olympics, a global event like no other, we must go the extra mile and showcase true japanese craftsmanship.’

tokyo 2020 showcases japanese craft in timber ariake gymnastics centre



the ariake gymnastics center will seat up to 12,000 during the tokyo 2020 olympics and will host artistic, rhythmic and trampoline gymnastics events. it will also host boccia during the paralympic games.


the center forms part of tokyo 2020’s continued efforts to achieve a sustainable and green games by lowering the environmental impact when constructing new venues. other examples include olympic medals made entirely from recycled consumer devices, an olympic torch made from aluminium waste, and cardboard beds for athletes to sleep on.

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