Hot on the heels of the opening of its Eli and Edythe Broad Art at Michigan State University last weekend, London-based Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has won the international competition for the new National Stadium of Japan. The stadium is slated to open in Tokyo in 2018, in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and in time to serve as a central venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics, should the city’s bid for those games be successful. The construction budget for the project will be $1.62 billion.
The new stadium will seat 80,000 under a sweeping retractable roof, which is formed from a skin of translucent tensile membranes stretched over structural members. Around the edge of the stadium bowl is an exhibition venues, which the architects term an “inhabited bridge” running along the north-south axis of the structure. A new elevated public plaza will serve as an urban gathering space. Landscaping, which extends under this elevated museum volume, will help to define the ground plane, and connect it to the surrounding urban areas. "The stadium will become an integral element of Tokyo's urban fabric, directly engaging with the surrounding cityscape to connect and carve the elegant forms of the design,” Zaha Hadid, Hon. FAIA, said in a press release. “The unique structure is both light and cohesive, defining a silhouette that integrates with the city. The perimeter of the stadium will be an inhabited bridge: a continuous exhibition space that creates an exciting new journey for visitors.”
The competition jury was chaired by Tadao Ando, Hon. FAIA, and included British architects Richard Rogers, Hon. FAIA, and Norman Foster, Hon. FAIA. The panel selected Hadid’s scheme from a pool of 46 entries, which included finalist schemes from Alastair Ray Richardson of Australian firm Cox Architecture Pty., and Kazuyo Sejima of Japanese firm Sanaa, which partnered with Nikken Sekkei. At a press conference announcing the winner, Ando said of the winning design from Zaha Hadid Architects: "The entry's dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world."