Architect calls new proposal for Tokyo 2020 stadium a 'sin'
By Ruairidh Villar
TOKYO (Reuters) - A revised plan for Japan's new stadium for the 2020 Olympics is still so wasteful and large for the site that it is a "sin" - one that also destroys the power of the original design, said a Tokyo architect running a petition drive against the structure.
The spaceship-like stadium was designed by Zaha Hadid, who also designed the aquatics center for the 2012 London Olympics, but the plans came under fire soon after Tokyo won the Games last year for ballooning cost estimates and a lack of harmony with the surrounding cityscape.
This week, the Japan Sports Council released a new design proposal reducing the size of the stadium by more than 20 percent and cutting costs from some 300 billion yen ($2.95 billion), more than twice the original bid estimate, to roughly 162 billion yen.
But Edward Suzuki, a Tokyo-based architect, says the new proposal is still flawed, especially given the number of trees that will have to be cut in one of the city's rare green areas.
"I've never felt so emotional about any kind of architecture up until now," Suzuki told Reuters on Friday, a day before an event to bid the current National Stadium farewell ahead of its July demolition.
"But it's happening in my garden, in our garden ... We just can't let it happen. It's a sin, it's a crime."
The National Stadium was built for Tokyo's first Summer Olympics, in 1964. The new stadium, set to have 80,000 seats - up from 54,000 at present - will be completed in time for the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
The new proposal shrinks the overall space of the stadium to about 222,600 square meters, including competitive spaces such as the pitch, from 290,000 square meters, mainly by downsizing areas used for things like media facilities and display rooms. Continued...