Wood from disaster hit areas of Japan to be used to construct Tokyo Olympic stadium

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma speaks during a press conference after his design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic stadium was picked, in Tokyo, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Japan chose a scaled-down design Tuesday for the main stadium, five months after scrapping the initial design and construction plan for being too costly. His new design will still cost 153 billion yen ($1.26 billion) to design, build and maintain. The initial stadium proposal would have cost 252 billion yen ($2.1 billion), making it the most expensive stadium ever built. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Wood from disaster-hit regions of Japan will be used to construct the National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the project’s architect Kengo Kuma has revealed.

The timber will be taken from landscapes devastated by the 2001 earthquake and tsunami in order to provide practical use for fallen trees.

The stadium is due to feature a number of components which reflect Japanese culture, such as the inclusion of traditional andon lights installed on the concourse.

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Other elements include shoji and lattice screens in the VIP lounge and wooden walls and ceilings.

Kuma, who has designed the stadium after the initial project by London-based firm Zaha Hadid Architects was scrapped by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe in August 2015 because of spiralling costs, said he plans to use wood from areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“I’d like to make it a stadium that harmonises with the green of [neighbouring] Meiji Jingu Gaien area, and one that is open to the public,” Kuma said.

Construction of the stadium is likely to begin at the end of this year, with the country’s sports council president Kazumi Ohigashi claiming it will be completed by November 2019.

It was originally due to hold the Rugby World Cup final that year but the axing of the first design forced organisers of the event to put forward the Yokohama Stadium as a replacement venue.

“I’m working on the project with a wish to use lumber from the areas that are going through the reconstruction process,” he said.

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