Today the Japan Sports Council released plans submitted by two competing groups who are proposing designs for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Stadium. Although the names of those involved have been redacted – each proposal is simply referred to as Proposal A and Proposal B – it was reported by Nikkan Sports that architects Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma were facing off.
If you assume that information is correct then it’s pretty easy to guess which proposal belongs to who based on aesthetics. We’re going to say Proposal A is Kengo Kuma and Proposal B is Toyo Ito. But either way, let’s go to the renderings to see what they’ll potentially look like.
At 48 and 50 pages, respectively, both proposals are very in-depth and cover everything from basic renderings to environmental considerations, timing and costs. And both proposals came in at just under 150 billion yen (about $1.2 billion USD), which is about half of what the original Zaha Hadid stadium was going to cost. So what is different about them?
Proposal A – a marriage of wood and forestry
Proposal A incorporates the surrounding trees of Jingu Shrine to create a stadium of wood and greenery. The roofing is a hybrid structure that uses wood and steel. The plan is for a stadium that is in tunet with the surrounding environment and utilizes the latest technology to create a modern interpretation Japan’s climate, culture and tradition, reads one of the statements.
The horizontal lines of the façade even reference the Gojunoto wooden pagoda at Horyuji Temple that was built in the early 700s. It’s a beautiful yet orthodox interpretation of Japanese design.
Proposal B – an undulating roof that rests on solid wood
What defines Proposal B is it’s unique and feathery undulating roof, but also the solid wood pillars that will be equally spaced around the stadium. The 72 weight-bearing pillars will serve a symbolic purpose in that they reference Japan’s tradition of building pillars to honor festivities.
Even today Japan has several preserved archaeological sites that date back to the Jomon period (about 12,000 BC) in which large pillared buildings were found that are believed to have served as monuments or shrines.
The 72 pillars aren’t an arbitrary number either. They represent Japan’s 72 microseasons. An 850 meter walkable circuit wraps around the stadium and visitors can traverse the distance as they walk around the pillars in take in all of what Japan’s seasons have to offer.
The redness of Japan’s rising sun glows through the roof as its historic tradition supports it.