Eco-friendly stadium for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo, Jan 15 (IANS) The host stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — the National Olympic Stadium — will be an eco-friendly and open enclosure and will draw inspiration from traditional Japanese architecture, the architect in charge of designing the complex said on Friday.

Kengo Kuma, in his first public appearance since being selected, explained that wood will be the main material used for the construction as it is durable and easy to maintain, reports Efe.

“I will use as much wood as possible and I would like it to be procured locally,” added Kuma, 61, for whom building the Games stadium is the most important challenge of his career.

He added that the stadium will use clean energy and include solar panels that are “visible because they are a part of the design,” allowing for maximum use of wind and preventing excessive use of air conditioners.

Kuma, one of the most prestigious and renowned contemporary Japanese architects, is planning to complement his “green” design with stepped terraces laced with plants that will be nurtured with recycled water.

Kuma also wants the stadium to be available to the city residents after the games are over.

“When I was passing by the old stadium, it seemed secluded. I would like the city’s residents to be able to benefit from it even after the Games,” he said.

The new stadium, which will be built on the site of the older one that served as the venue for the 1964 Olympics, has been mired in controversy even before the first stone was laid.

A design by Anglo-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid was originally selected for the main venue of Tokyo 2020.

However, the design was widely criticised in Japan over its high cost – which reached double the amount budgeted – humongous size and low adaptability to the environment.

After the authorities decided to scrap Hadid’s project, Kuma was selected after a second selection process conducted by the Japan Sport Council (JSC).

Recently, Zadid had stirred up a controversy claiming Kuma’s design bears similarities with her original design that was scrapped.

“The strict conditions set by the JSC mean that automatically some similarities between the two projects emerge, but the designs are totally different,” Kuma said, adding Hadid’s design was “marvellous”.

Speaking about possible cost overruns, a factor which scuttled Hadid’s venture, Kuma said the use of wood as the main material and sourcing materials from smaller factories will allow them to stick to the budget of around $1.2 billion.

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