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Japan announces new plan for Olympic Stadium

The country moves on from Zaha Hadid Architects, creators of the original stadium design scrapped last week.

July 23, 2015 |
Japan announces new plan for Olympic Stadium

Rendering: Zaha Hadid's proposed Tokyo Olympic Stadium, Japan Sport Council, Creative Commons

Last week, Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that the country was scrapping its plans for Tokyo's Olympic Stadium and that a different project would be started from scratch. 

According to The Japan Times, the new plans have been set in motion. Construction on the stadium that will serve as the hub of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will begin in January or February, and a first draft of the stadium's functions, along with a cost projection report, will be completed by the fall. A new design and builder will be selected as well.

Hakubun Shimomura, Japan's Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, said that a third-party will look into how construction costs for the previous stadium plan grew from 130 billion yen ($1.05 billion) to more than 252 billion yen (around $2 billion).

The original stadium, an 80,000-seat retractable roof venue designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, was an ambitious project that eventually had a number of flaws. Along with the rising costs and concerns about construction delays, critics said that the stadium interfered with local green space, put a financial burden on future generations, and was unattractive aesthetically. 

Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki started an online petition that urged the country to consider upgrading the existing Meiji Jingo Gaien Stadium instead of displacing citizens who lived around the proposed Olympic Stadium.

Shimomura said that the plan is for the new stadium to open in the spring of 2020, prior to the Olympics.

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