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Zaha Hadid Finally Admits Her 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium Bid Is Dead

After a few months of denial, the British-Iraqi starchitect is ready to move on.

The demise of Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Tokyo Olympic Stadium may have been greatly exaggerated in the past, but now we can actually call it: it’s dead.

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Controversy has embroiled Hadid’s proposed design from the beginning, derided by critics for forcing public housing residents to relocate, and carrying a $2 billion price tag–seemingly exorbitant for a country still scraping together money to recover from Fukushima. The design was also panned by high-profile Japanese architects, who petitioned to have the project scrapped for its “outsized” scale, which would have dwarfed Kenzo Tange’s 1964 Olympic Stadium.

All of this caused Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to announce in July that the project would be restarted from scratch. Despite this, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) held tight, releasing a 20-minute video claiming its design was “the only way to achieve value for money in the market.” If money was a concern, ZHA said money could be saved by removing the stadium’s air conditioning, along with a bridge designed to offer the public views across the city skyline. You know, little things.

It appears, though, a few months later, that the challenge was too great for ZHA. The stated reason is due to an inability to find a construction company to work with, which was a condition under the revised bid rules for any design. Other potential roadblocks included reduced seating, and a budget capped at $1.3 billion, roughly $700 million less than ZHA’s original bid.

“It is disappointing that the two years of work and investment in the existing design for a new national stadium for Japan cannot be further developed to meet the new brief through the new design competition,” a spokesman for Zaha Hadid Architects in London said.

In the past, Hadid has personally railed against critics of the project, calling them “hypocrites” and saying that Japanese architects didn’t want an outsider building a national stadium, even though they build abroad themselves.

Although this setback will doubtlessly be disappointing to Hadid, her stadium for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Final in Qatar is still on track, despite seemingly larger controversies, like wide scale human rights complaints (“Not my duty,” Hadid said about the 500+ worker deaths to date preparing the site for the World Cup, although luckily none of those fatalities have happened working on the construction of Al Wakrah Stadium itself.)

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[via the Guardian]

Edit: A previous version of this article mistakenly said that workers had died constructing Hadid’s stadium in Qatar. The workers actually died in more broad preparations for the event, and not constructing Al Wakrah Stadium itself.

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