Japan’s Sport Council announced the winner of a contest to design a new national stadium in Tokyo with a budget of over $1 billion. The contract was awarded to the U.K.’s Zaha Hadid, who is now responsible for building the stadium that will be a key focus of Tokyo’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, as well as house the Rugby World Cup in 2019.
Born in Iraq, Hadid has previously designed the Aquatics Centre in London, used for the 2012 Olympics, and became the first female architect to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2004. The winning design features her signature futuristic style with flowing lines, with an overall shape similar to a bicycle helmet. The stadium will have a retractable roof, enough seats for 80,000 people, and is expected to cost around 130 billion yen (approx. $1.62 billion). The new stadium’s location will also have significance, as it is to be built in the place of the old national stadium that hosted the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
Japanese architect Tadao Ando, who served as the leading judge over the submissions, said Hadid’s design complemented Tokyo’s crowded landscape with its fluidity, as well as met the requirements of being environmentally efficient and able to be completed by 2019. Tsunekazu Takeda, president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, also praised the design, calling it “the best of the best.” Construction on the new national stadium is scheduled to begin in late 2015, shortly after the old stadium is torn down.
Tokyo hasn’t officially been named as host of the 2020 Olympics, as the International Olympic Committee won’t announce their choice between Madrid, Spain; Istanbul, Turkey; and the Japanese capital until September of next year. This means it would be a shame if Tokyo didn’t win after all the hard work Hadid put into her winning design. What do you think readers, do you give the new stadium the thumbs up, or could there have been something better suited to Tokyo?