Hadid wins Olympic design gold

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A design resembling a futuristic spaceship by Zaha Hadid is to form the centrepiece of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

The Japanese capital triumphed over rival cities Madrid and Istanbul to be named next Olympic city after the torch passes from Rio in 2016.

London-based Hadid topped a list of 46 entries, including Japanese architects Kazuyo Sejima, and Toyo Ito.

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Her vision includes a retractable roof and seating for 80,000 people, and has been described by critics as resembling a space-age “mothership”.

It was praised by the chairman of the selection panel, the Japanese architect Tadao Ando, for its “dynamic, futuristic design”, which he hoped would serve as “a shrine for world sport for the next 100 years”. Hadid previously designed the Aquatics Centre  for the London 2012 Olympic swimming events.

“It is an honour for us to be selected to build the new National Stadium of Japan,” she said.

“Our three decades of research into Japanese architecture and urbanism is evident in our winning design and we greatly look forward to building the new National Stadium.

“The stadium will become an integral part of Tokyo’s urban fabric, directly engaging with the surrounding cityscape to connect and carve the elegant forms of the design.

“The unique structure is both light and cohesive, defining a silhouette that integrates with the city. The perimeter of the stadium will be an inhabited bridge a continuous exhibition space that creates an exciting new journey for visitors.” The new venue will replace the ageing Kasumigaoka National Stadium, which was built in 1958 and served as the primary venue for the 1964 Olympic Games. Hadid was previously honoured with Japan’s Premium Imperiale award for contributions to architecture in 2009.

Among her most celebrated buildings are the Maxxi Museum in Rome, and the Z-shaped Evelyn Grace Academy in Brixton, South London. She is the designer of the Dongdaemun Plaza in Seoul, South Korea, which formed the centrepiece of the city’s designation World Design Capital 2010, and is scheduled for completion in 2014.

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