It was announced yesterday that Proposal A had been selected as the official stadium for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics. And in doing so, the committee also revealed what we all had guessed: the the architect behind the wood-centric stadium was none other than Kengo Kuma.
As we pointed out in our original analysis of the 2 finalists, Kuma’s proposal is a marriage of wood and forestry. The design 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 tune 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.
Interestingly, when you look at how both stadiums scored among the judges it was quite close with Proposal A (610 points) winning out over Proposal B (602 points) with a mere 8 points. From a design perspective Proposal B actually scored higher. The biggest delta came from the “shortening of construction period” category in which Proposal A gained 27 points over Proposal B. Clearly the committee was concerned over timing and wanted to ensure that the stadium was completed in time for the Olympic games.
However, the original mishandling of the process–everything from the firing of Zaha Hadid to the lack in transparency–has left a bad taste in the mouths of those involved. Hadid has officially denounced the way the new stadium was selected, stating “sadly the Japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in Japan, have colluded to close the doors on the project to the world.” She even hinted at allegations of plagiarism, saying that there are “remarkable similarities” between the new design and the proposal that Hadid and her team had worked on for 2 years.