Katie Bone | September 18, 2013
Shortly following the announcement that Tokyo has won the bid to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the New National Stadium of Japan by Zaha Hadid Architects was identified as the venue that will hold all of the athletic events, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. Construction of The New National Stadium of Japan is expected to be completed in 2018. The Rugby World Cup in 2019 is scheduled to be the venue's first event.
Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, the building was selected to replace the existing National Stadium of Japan, built for the 1964 Olympic Games, in a competition held by the Japan Sport Council. The rules of entry required that applicants have previous experience designing a stadium for at least 15,000 visitors and was limited to winners of prestigious awards in architecture and design such as the Pritzker Prize and the RIBA gold medal. From 46 applicants, the jury, chaired by Tadao Ando, selected the sleek and futuristic design from Zaha Hadid Architects as the winner.
Near the Tokyo neighborhood of Shinjuku, the elongated stadium was designed to integrate with it’s urban landscape and serve as an iconic new monument in the city’s skyline. Composed of arching white ribs and translucent membranes, the long arch of the structure appears both skeletal and graceful. With a retractable roof and adjustable seating for 80,000 people, it is a highly functional space. The entrances are marked by the points where the structural ribs of the stadium slope gently downward to meet the ground. The rib around the perimeter serves as a bridge to facilitate movement throughout the building.
The architects and the Japan Sport Council foresee the potential for the New National Stadium of Japan to serve the city of Tokyo for much longer than it’s predecessor. “The project has been designed to function after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to host rugby and football matches, athletics, and music performances,” says project architect Paulo Flores. “It will become an integrated element of Tokyo’s cityscape, a new public realm to be enjoyed by the city and it’s visitors.”