Zaha Hadid Architects and partner, Nikken Sekkei LTD, have announced their withdrawal from Japan’s New National Stadium design and build competition. The unfortunate news came just three weeks after Japan Sport Council launched a second proposal competition for the New National Stadium.

The New National Stadium - Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The New National Stadium – Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The competition required a consortium of firms covering planning and design, as well as construction supervision. The reason for the withdrawal was the firms’ inability “to secure a contractor”.

Zaha recently explained and defended the design in a video and public report for the new brief, underlining that it was inspired by Japan’s culture and was in respect to its past and future. The arched structure, materiality and texture resonate with traditional Japanese landscape architecture, while the catenary beams are reminders of the Kenzo Tange’s architectural innovation at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, 1964. “Together the arches, catenary beams and lightweight fabric combined to create an overall effect that represents the traditional craft and modernist innovation of Japan, to create a renewal of the Japanese spirit of optimism for the future based on the confidence of their past.” – ZHA wrote.

The New National Stadium, Football Match - Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The New National Stadium, Football Match – Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The report also included a timetable with the completion plan for the stadium, with a deadline scheduled three months before the Rugby World Cup, on September 9th, 2020. “ZHA have experience in working successfully with clients to design projects which have been built on time and to budget“ – they add. Their most compelling argument for the continuation of the project was the budgetary risk of starting a new competition at this point.

The New National Stadium - Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The New National Stadium – Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

“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.” – ZHA mention in their latest press release.

The New National Stadium - Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The New National Stadium – Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The two firms offered their support and knowledge, gained throughout their two years of collaboration, to the Japanese government, regarding the completion of the stadium. “Nikken Sekkei and ZHA are prepared and able to deliver a cost-effective Stadium that meets the revised brief, is ready in good time for the 2020 Games and provides a new home for sport in Japan for generations to come. While the current competition is closed to the existing design team we stand ready to use the wealth of detailed knowledge and expertise, built up through the thousands of hours dedicated to the project, to assist the National and Tokyo Governments and Japanese people deliver a Stadium fit to welcome the world in 2020 and go on to host national, international and community events for the next 50-100 years.”

By: Ana Cosma

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