Hadid accuses Japanese architects and authorities of “colluding” over Tokyo Olympics stadium


Zaha Hadid has accused Japanese authorities and architects for conspiring against her Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium project, adding that architect Kenho Kuma’s winning design has “remarkable similarities” to her own proposal which was rejected due to its size and spiralling costs.

Hadid, who was forced to give up the job two years after winning the competition, said she has been treated shockingly: “Sadly the Japanese authorities, with the support of some of those from our own profession in Japan, have colluded to close the doors on the project to the world.”

Kengo Kuma beats Toyo Ito to win Japan National Stadium competition

Kengo Kuma beats Toyo Ito to win Japan National Stadium competition


Japanese architects Toyo Ito and and Kengo Kuma put forward competing proposals but as of yesterday, the Japan Sports Council (JSC) had announced that Kuma’s winning design will be built in Yoygi for the event.

Hadid also released additional claims that Kengo’s design has a similar shape and layout to her previously winning proposal, which had been protested against by a number of Japanese architects including Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto and Riken Yamamoto for its scale and high costs.

“This shocking treatment of an international design and engineering team, as well as the respected Japanese design companies with whom we worked, was not about design or budget,” she said.

“In fact much of our two years of detailed design work and the cost savings we recommended have been validated by the remarkable similarities of our original detailed stadium layout and our seating bowl configuration with those of the design announced today.”

The stadium is expected to be completed by 2019 with work scheduled to start in 2017. However, Hadid commented that the construction for the project would have already been underway had her scheme remained.

Zaha Hadid's Tokyo 2020 Olympics stadium

Hadid says Kuma’s design is similar to her proposal for the competition

“Work would already be underway building the stadium if the original design team had simply been able to develop this original design, avoiding the increased costs of an 18-month delay and risk that it may not be ready in time for the 2020 Games,” she said.

Hadid had won the original competition to design the stadium back in November 2012.

Costs for building the stadium started at ¥130 billion (£707.1 million), later rising to ¥252 billion (£1.37 billion) in 2015.

Kuma’s design team will have to work to a revised budget of ¥155 billion (£843 million).

Zaha Hadid portrait by Mary McCartney.

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