Fumihiko Maki, one of Japan’s most renowned architects, spoke out strongly against Tokyo’s plan to renovate the old national Olympic Stadium for the 2020 Games, saying that not only will the construction be so expensive, it would be so large that it would be a disruption to the surrounding landscape. Maki leads a group of prominent Japanese architects speaking out in protest to the construction of the New National Stadium, which was designed by Iraqi-Briton Zaha Hadid.
The stadium, planned to be ready to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, is deemed by Maki as an “unnecessary” structure. “I don’t criticize the design so much, instead my criticism goes to the program, why such a huge gymnasium is necessary,” the 85-year-old Pritzker Prize laureate said during a news conference on Tuesday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo. Maki, acclaimed for his recent design of Tower 4 of the new World Trade Center in New York, added that the building is too big for the planned 11-hectare site. “There aren’t that many places you can find in Tokyo with such greenery. And suddenly constructing this great building might be questionable,” he said.
Maki also questioned the future of the site – with the massive cost of construction in mind – and compared it to Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium, which has been mostly idle since the 2008 Summer Games. “The big question is after the Olympics. It’s a bigger problem, as you see from the fate of the Beijing stadium. The building’s maintenance cost becomes more expensive as time goes by,” he said. The Japan Sports Council made adjustments to the site’s construction plan last year in the wake of public criticism. The venue size has now been reduced to 220,000 square meters from the original plan of 290,000 square meters. Predicted construction costs have also been cut to 169.2 billion yen (approx. US$1.67 billion), from an initial estimate of 185.2 billion yen ($1.83 billion).
[via Wall Street Journal]