On Friday, after a long battle, London-based firm Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) decided to stop pursuing the Tokyo Stadium for the Olympics in 2020. According to the firm’s press release, they tried to team up with Tokyo-based Nikken Sekkei for the second time to renew their bid for the design competition earlier this month, but the competition rules require participants with construction capabilities—a component they were missing, forcing them to drop out.
"It is disappointing that the two years of work and investment in the existing design for a new National Stadium for Japan cannot be further developed to meet the new brief through the new design competition,” said ZHA in the press release.
Back in July, the Japanese government cancelled the building of the stadium due to complaints that it was not environmentally conscious and overrunning construction costs. The London-based firm then wrote to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe that they were willing to modify the designs to make it more cost effective, stating that their plans had been jeopardized by rising construction costs and the premature appointment of contractors. The firm even made a presentation explaining why the Olympic host should reconsider the designs, which consisted of a 23-minute video and a 91-page report.
While it is walking away from the controversy, the firm says it is still willing to help whoever is next to tackle the commission. “While the current competition is closed to the existing design team we stand ready to use the wealth of detailed knowledge and expertise, built up through the thousands of hours dedicated to the project, to assist the National and Tokyo Governments and Japanese people deliver a Stadium fit to welcome the world in 2020 and go on to host national, international and community events for the next 50-100 years,” said ZHA, in the press release.
We've been covering this story for some time as it has developed. Here are highlights from that coverage, in order: