Japan drops Hadid 2020 Olympic Stadium design

2020 Olympic Stadium, Tokyo

In a stunning reversal, the Japanese government has scuttled a controversial, expensive and ultimately unpopular 2020 Olympic Stadium design from Zaha Hadid and will instead open the competition to bids.

The stadium, which originally was estimated to cost $1.05 billion but later came in with an estimate of $2.04 billion, was set to replace 1964’s National Stadium. That facility has already been torn down — eliminating the opportunity to renovate and expand it — so a new 2020 Olympic Stadium is needed. From The Japan Times:

Construction will start on the new centerpiece for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in January or February, education and sports minister Hakubun Shimomura said.

Officials will first draft a plan that lists the functions the building will need. This document, which will include possible costs, will be complete by the fall and then put to tender.

The design and builder will be chosen in an international competition with the aim of completing the stadium by spring 2020, Shimomura said.

Cost overruns are a part of the building process. A case of the cost doubling, however, means a) the original cost estimates were wishful thinking and b) heads will roll, because a $2B+ stadium will never play well with the public.

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August Publications