Designing the ‘World’s Greatest Stadium’

Zaha Hadid Japan National Stadium

As cultural and architectural icons, sporting stadiums are extremely important to a city’s built of environment. As such, the structures maintain a high profile and promise acclaim to those who design and deliver them well.

In a bid to garner attention and help fulfill Japan’s 2020 Olympic Game ambitions, the Japanese Sport Council created an international design competition asking architects from across the globe to design the new National Stadium located in Tokyo.

Zaha Hadid architects won the tender with a modern interpretation of a sporting arena. According to Japanese architect and lead competition judge Tadao Ando, the modern aesthetic and cultural significance of the UK firm’s designs earned Zaha Hadid the win.

“The entry’s dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world,” says Ando.

Prior to hosting any Olympic competitions, the stadium will be home to Rugby World Cup events, which will take place in 2019.

Zaha Hadid’s win is even more impressive given their status as a foreign designer and the historic importance of the site to Japanese history. The new stadium will be located on the site of the original stadium, which served as a venue when the country hosted of the 1946 Olympic Games and stood as a cultural landmark during the post-World War II recovery.

Zaha Hadid Japan National Stadium

Principal, founder and namesake of the architectural firm, Zaha Hadid, is confident that with her company’s strong body of work in the country they are capable of delivering on a successful and iconic structure, which has been slated by the Japanese Sport Council to become the ‘the world’s greatest stadium.’

“I have worked in Japan for 30 years. 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,” says Hadid. “The design is both light and cohesive, seamlessly connecting the stadium’s different elements to create a silhouette that integrates with the city.”

Runners-up included Australian architectural firm Cox Architecture and Japan’s Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA and Nikken Sekkei.

By Jane Parkins
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