Architecture from 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games: Features & Controversies
A rollicking closing ceremony with the theme “Worlds We Share” marked the end of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. The game gave us a total new look in this pandemic world, and earth’s top-tier athletes competed hard and succeed at almost any cost. The world appreciate it.
Let’s talk about the architecture design, the venues. In fact, most of the venues are older buildings reused, such as the Handball, badminton and wheelchair rugby venue – Yoyogi National Stadium – was completed for the previous Olympics in Tokyo in 1964. This is welcome, for humans are advocating green world. Actually, Paris, host of the 2024 Olympics, promises that 95% of its venues will be either existing or temporary, to halve carbon emissions in comparison to the last two editions of the Summer Games.
Please follow AIMIR to have a tour on the controversial main venue of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games: Japanese National Stadium.
Japan National Stadium
Athletics and football
The opening and closing ceremonies as well as the athletics events were held on this Japan National Stadium. Costing around US$1.4 billion, Kengo Kuma designed a stadium with 68,000 seats colored in 5 different earth tones to create a forest-pattern mosaic as a natural solution. He said he was inspired by the traditional Japanese architecture and the environment.
The oval-shaped design features 3 tiers of seats beneath a partially covered roof made from steel and latticed wood. Known for his use of natural materials, the roof design improves the thermal environment of the stands and field by effectively bringing in seasonal wind, while removing the heat and humidity from inside.
Zaha Hadid’s Proposal Scraped & Kengo Kuma Accused of Plagiarism
This stadium’s design was actually won by Zaha Hadid in the design competition but later was dropped with concerns over costs and opposition from Japanese architects, which perhaps was the biggest controversy in the run-up to the games.
Zaha Hadid Architects won the competition to design the stadium in 2012. However, the proposed design was criticized by leading Japanese architects. “They don’t want a foreigner to build in Tokyo for a national stadium,” Hadid said, “on the other hand, they all have work abroad.”
What interesting is, the Kengo Kuma’s design was accused of plagiarizing. Zaha Hadid thought the new stadium’s design had “remarkable similarities” to her own proposal, especially has a similar shape and layout. However, Kuma denied the claims, insisting the originality of his design.
Eco-friendly or Greenwashing?
The 68,000-seat stadium used plenty of timber in the roof. An investigation by over 40 charities found that the tropical hardwood being used was linked to deforestation and human rights violations. They think the use of tropical timber from Sarawak on Olympic construction sites is nothing to celebrate.
On the other hand, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games aims to be the greenest games in modern history, since they are using recycled cardboard beds for athletes and podiums made of donated plastic. However, a peer review conducted by the University of Lausanne found that the Games in Tokyo is the third-least sustainable Olympic since 1992. Proofs lead this event easily to be criticized for greenwashing.