Saturday, December 21, 2013

Aesthetics battle against Tokyo 2020 Olympics stadium  

Architect Fumihiko Maki against current project

When Olympics distort aesthetics and architecture, the battle promises to be fierce. It all started a few weeks ago when residents and architects rallied against the massive stadium construction planned for the 2020 Olympics, seen as too ugly, too big and too costly.

The new 70 metre high architectural stadium looks like a futuristic UFO or a bicycle helmet and its modernist shape has drawn criticism that it would dwarf all other nearby structures in the area, including the historic buildings, shrines and temples built since Meiji era which are assigned to a 15 metre height restriction.

Tokyo 2020 stadium project 

Architect Fumihiko Maki and other high-profile critics say no: “I don’t understand the requirements for the project, and what is the benefit for the people to have such stadium?” Maki asked during a lecture and discussion with domestic and international audience who gathered friday evening at the Meiji University, modern Nakano campus. “Why build such huge stadium on such a small place?” Maki added in front of the Meiji University crowd that the Beijing Olympics stadium had more space around for the spectators and residents to see the stadium well integrated and offered a proportional well balanced work.

From 3 billion yen, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 stadium designed by London-based Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid could go down to 1.8 billion yen after complaints made by Tokyo residents, citizens and architects. All amazed by cost. Why a 80.000 spectators stadium used for the 48 days of 2020 summer olympics and for the 2019 Rugby World Cup should be so huge and mobilise such an impressive spending paid by tax payers at such a hard economic time with no guarantee that the financing is healthy, critics told me last night?

Maki's New World Trade Center complex in New York

Maki is an award-winning architect responsible for one of the new towers for the World Trade Center complex in New York. He also renovated a building near the site of the new Yoyogi stadium. The 1964 Olympics stadium was built in 1958 for the Asian Games and served as the main venue for the 1964 Summer Olympics. “It’s quite difficult to attract big international sporting events at the current venue,” according to Japan Sport Council.

The Iraqi-born Hadid won the prestigious Pritzker in 2004, designed the Aquatics Centre for the 2012 London Olympics and is required for the Qatar World cup stadium project. If the project carries on, this bike helmet alike stadium would be visible from all over the west part of Tokyo, including from the splendid National Shinjuku Gyoen Park and would look as a giant bug abandoned in the middle of the city.

Meiji University lectures

Lots of symposia like the Meiji University one are held nowadays to discuss possible revisions, five architectural organisations, including the Japan Institute of Architects and the Japan Federation of Architects & Building Engineers Associations, submitted a petition expecting that the well known Tokyo centre would not end being defigured by architects who never intend to live in Tokyo preserved historic Jingu Gaien area. Worst is that just a very few Japanese media covered the news. This one did. (TS)

 Japanese press report on the polemic

In the end the Japan Sport Council (JSC), which is in charge of running the current and future stadium, announced it would scale back the floor space by one-quarter to 220,000 square metres. And the final project could look like this one. It does not make Tokyo Jingu and Yoyogi areas’ residents happy and they aim at continuing their aesthetic battle in the city where Babylonian architectural and public work projects are often seen, critics say, as a well known source of income for politicians. Oh that's it only...?

An other stadium in the city

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be nice and informative when you post or comment.
Thank you to visit Asian Gazette Blog of Joel Legendre-Koizumi.