29.10.2015

New National Stadium, in Tokyo

We, Zaha Hadid Architects with Arup Sports, have produced this explanatory booklet with an accompanying video to help the public understanding of the project and debate on the next steps for the New National Stadium.

The document explains the requirements behind the design, the Gaien site and the cost of the project. The site is complicated and so is the procurement in a limited and inflated market so we think the opportunities to get a better result without using the current design are over stated where the risks outweight any assumed benefits.

We have outlined the issues in this document and as we are professional consultants with extensive stadia experience who have worked on the design of the new national stadium on the Gaien site for over two years, we are best placed to explain these risks before it is too late. Similar mistakes have been made on previous stadiums and we think the government of Japan should learn from these mistakes to avoid a repeat.

The New National Stadium for Japan should aspire to represent the greatness of the Japanese nation as much as it should achieve short term aims on capital investment. The stadium needs to last well beyond the initial investment so it becomes a respected institution of public celebration and congregation for the next 50 – 100 years. The only way to achieve this ambition is to stick with the current design and use it to achieve value in the current marketplace and a long term quality of architecture that can be fit to be called the National Stadium of Japan.

Credible team
The team is a credible mix of international architects with sports planning and Japanese experience. Zaha Hadid Architects with Arup Sports won the international competition to design the new national stadium for Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. ZHA have experience in working successfully with clients to design projects which have been built on time and to budget. ZHA designed London Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympic Games. The project was successfully redesigned to achieve a revised budget. The design used a mix of temporary and permanent seating to become one of the most successful venues of the London 2012 Olympic Games. The venue has since become very popular and well used by the public.

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Arup Sports have extensive stadium design experience from the new multi-purpose stadium in Singapore Sports Hubs to the Beijing Olympic Stadium in 2008, the Allianz Arena (2006) and City of Manchester Stadium (2002). We have been collaborating on the design with four of the largest design consultants in Japan led by Nikken Sekkei. Between them these Japanese offices have designed three of the stadiums for the 2002 World Cup in Japan.

Architectural vision
The New National Stadium of Japan is more than a large sports facility designed to the highest design specifications and functional requirements. It is a piece of the city’s fabric, and urban connector which enhances and modulates people moving through the site from different directions and points of access. The elevated ground connections govern the flow of people through the site, effectively carving the geometric forms of the building.

The stadium roof defines an iconic silhouette that integrates gently within the cityscape around it. It is an intricate assembly of efficient long-spanning structural ribs which are spanned by a system of lightweight, translucent membranes. This unique structure is a lightweight solution, where the stadium elevation graciously touches the ground, defining a clear approach towards the stadium entrances. The interior of the stadium is also given a clearly identifiable identity through the strong roof structure that contrasts with the lightness of the translucent membrane tensile structures.

The seating bowl has been optimised to suit both Rugby World Cup and Olympic events, with a permanent athletics track to be inserted within the stadium. The design of the bowl will bring spectators as close as possible to the athletics track and jumps, and will not compromise the viewing experience of spectators during football or rugby events.

The seating bowl is adaptable, and has been designed to allow for the scale of the stadium to remain compact. Following the Olympics it is proposed that flexible areas of seating are adapted to enhance the commercial revenue that can be generated by the facility in legacy mode. The form of the stadium has been driven in response to the functional planning requirements of the stadium and responded closely to the volumetric constraints imposed on this building by the local planning authority requirements.

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Design Inspirations; Cultural Resonance
The ZHA design was inspired by the tradition and advanced culture of Japan. The site is the site of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Stadium and it is an appropriate place to build a new national stadium which aspires to create a building which exceeds mere function to become a symbol of Japanese renewal and long term optimism for the future.

The basic components of stadium design are extrapolated to connect the stadium to its specific context of Gainen and beyond to Japanese culture as an expressive but efficient design. The design is derived from the articulation of structure and circulation where structure is required to create roof cover over long spans without columns and a lot of circulation is required to safely move 80,000 people in and out of the stadium.

Proposed for practical reasons the primary structure of two keel arches have a similar intent in silhouette and symbolism to traditional Japanese
landscape bridges so that the new stadium is based on a key motif from traditional Japanese landscape design and an appropriate addition to the sports landscape of the Gainen area.

Read full document

New National Stadium Video Presentation from Zaha Hadid Architects on Vimeo.

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