On Tuesday, the Japanese government announced the selection of Tokyo-based Kengo Kuma and Associates' proposed design for the country's new National Stadium, which is expected to be a highlight of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The design was chosen over the weekend by a seven-member panel representing the Japan Sports Council (JSC), which also included design professionals. The panelists judged Kuma, Hon. FAIA's and fellow finalist Toyo Ito, Hon. FAIA's designs on criteria such as expected construction costs and project timeline, and the incorporation of traditional Japanese design characteristics. The final vote was determined by eight points, The Japan Times reports.
Rising construction costs and environmental concerns led the country's government to scrap Zaha Hadid, Hon. FAIA's original designs for the stadium this past summer. Last month, the JSC unveiled separate plans by Kuma and Ito to replace the London–based architect's original proposal.
Previously known as Design A, Kuma's work draws on traditional Japanese architecture with a wood-and-steel roof, integrated greenery, and exposed terraces within an oval-shaped shell. Standing roughly 164-feet tall, the stadium is expected to blend into its urban setting better than Hadid's much larger and more complex proposed structure.
After the announcement, Hadid released a statement, criticizing the Japanese authorities and leading architects involved in selecting the design, lamenting the similarities between the two designs. "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."
The JSC is overseeing the stadium's construction and says it could break ground as early as December 2016. Projected to be complete by November 2019, the new design is expected to cost 149 billion yen ($1.2 billion) for design and construction, compared to estimates of up to 252 billion yen ($2.1 billion) for the construction costs on Hadid's design, according to The New York Times. According to the BBC, the costs for Hadid's construction would have made it the most expensive sports venue in the world.