Zaha Hadid teams up with Nikken Sekkei to submit new bid for Tokyo 2020 stadium

Zaha Hadid is working with Japanese architecture and engineering firm Nikken Sekkei to win back the Tokyo Olympic stadium project after its first competition-winning design was thrown out in July (+ slideshow).

Nikken Sekkei has announced that it will work with Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) to submit a fresh bid for the New National Stadium for Japan.

A new design and build competition for the stadium – set to host events during the 2020 Olympic games – was launched on 1 September 2015, with a much shorter design and construction schedule.

Revised guidelines will cap the cost at ¥155 billion (£850 million) – a significant reduction compared to the ¥250 billion (£1.37 billion) estimate for Hadid’s initial design, which was scrapped by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe due to soaring costs and growing public dissatisfaction.

The number of seats has been cut back from 72,000 to 68,000, with the option for an additional 12,000 to be added later in case Japan wishes to bid to host the football world cup.

Tokyo-based Nikken Sekkei had worked on the original design since May 2013, leading a team of structural engineering firms and acting as design supervisor alongside Hadid’s practice.

Nikken Sekkei said its involvement in the development of the project and knowledge of the site would help deliver the best alternative.



“We believe the best way to respond to the new brief is to maximise the use of the expertise and experience gained by the design team over the past two years,” said a statement from the firm.

The company has also invited ZHA, which launched its own campaign to reinstate the scrapped stadium last month, to work with it on the revised design.

“Our firm is certain that retaining the team of design supervisor and designers will deliver the best National Stadium, and we have invited Zaha Hadid Architects to join the design team,” Nikken Sekkei said.

ZHA commented: “Our team in Japan and the UK have worked closely with Nikken Sekkei to develop a design for the New National Stadium for Japan that meets the government’s core principles and it is an honour to be invited by Nikken Sekkei to progress the design together to the revised technical brief.”

“Building on the two years of work and knowledge in which the Japanese people have invested, Zaha Hadid Architects and Nikken Sekkei are able to quickly develop a comprehensive, fully costed design and, in partnership with a committed construction contractor, the most cost-effective delivery plan that ensures the New National Stadium is ready in good time for the preparations ahead of Tokyo 2020,” added the firm.

Hadid’s original design faced backlash from the public and a number of high-profile Japanese architects, who complained that the stadium was too large and expensive.

The British-Iraqi architect hit back at the criticism in an interview with Dezeen in 2014, describing it as “embarrassing” and “hypocritical”.

“They don’t want a foreigner to build in Tokyo for a national stadium,” Hadid told Dezeen. “On the other hand, they all have work abroad.”

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics has also faced controversy over its logo, after claims that its designer Kenjiro Sano copied it from a Belgian theatre. Although Sano denied the accusations, his logo was withdrawn by the organising committee earlier this month.

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