The final shortlist may only have been announced a matter of weeks ago but Zaha Hadid Architects has been announced as the winner of the Japan National Stadium competition. Eleven international teams were shortlisted for the project but the London-based studio headed by the world’s most famous female architect has triumphed over the competition with a classically ambitious concept which glides over the site in Tokyo.
Due to open in 2018 and host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, the 80,000-seater stadium will also play a key role in Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics. Zaha’s concept will not come as a surprise to those familiar with her work as its smooth lines and soft curves are highly recognisable components of the architect’s style.
Respected architect Tadao Ando was the Jury Chair for the competition and stated: “The New National Stadium must provide a solution to many difficult problems. The site conditions pose a challenge in requiring an enormous facility for eighty-thousand people to be composed spatially into a narrow site. The project is expected to not only organize the surrounding traffic, manage the circulation of large bodies of people, and offer an exciting experience for spectators, but also to demonstrate the technology of the highest level to support an operable roof and adjustable seating that will be needed to facilitate a multilayered programme comprising of both sporting events and cultural activities.”
Hadid’s latest project is planned for the site where the Mitsuo Katayama-designed stadium now sits in Kasumigaoka, replacing the original building with an updated structure. Critics are sure to compare this new concept with Hadid’s recently completed Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympics, an equally elegant form whose flowing roofscape bears some resemblance to that of the new Japan National Stadium.