With five years remaining until the start of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, The Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, announced the country is scrapping Zaha Hadid Architects’ construction plans. Zaha Hadid Architects is the same firm that designed and built the Aquatic Center in London for the 2012 Olympics.
“We have decided to go back to the start on the Tokyo Olympics-Paralympics stadium plan, and start over from zero,” Abe told the Gaurdian.
The Prime Minister added that inflated prices and the criticism from the public and athletes lead him to believe he couldn’t host a games that everyone would celebrate. ZHA won the bid back in 2008, but since then, there has been more controversy surrounding their project than celebration. This is not something the Prime Minister is taking lightly. Starting over from scratch is forcing Tokyo to give up the hosting duties for the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The original plan was to host the opening game and the final game of the Rugby World Cup in the future Olympic Stadium stadium.
The estimated cost to complete the stadium rose to 1.3 million Euros, which is roughly 1.5 billion US dollars. Zaha Hadid Architects also released a statement about the Prime Minister calling for new plans for the Olympic Stadium:
“Our teams in Japan and the UK have been working hard with the Japan sports council to design a new national stadium that would be ready to host the rugby world cup in 2019, the Tokyo 2020 games and meet the need for a new home for Japanese sport for the next 50 to 100 years.
It is absolutely right that the benefits and costs of the new national stadium should be clearly and accurately communicated and understood by the public and decision-makers in japan and we hope that this is one of the objectives of the review announced by the prime minister.
We have used our experience on major sports and cultural projects, including the hugely successful london 2012 games and legacy, to design a stadium that can be built cost-effectively and still deliver the flexible and robust national stadium that the japan sports council requires.
It is not the case that the recently reported cost increases are due to the design, which uses standard materials and techniques well within the capability of Japanese contractors and meets the budget set by the Japan sports council. the real challenge for the stadium has been agreeing an acceptable construction cost against the backdrop of steep annual increases in construction costs in Tokyo and a fixed deadline.”