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New plan for Tokyo’s Olympic stadium as World Rugby seeks new finals venue
The Japanese Government has set out the process for the design and construction for a new national stadium in Tokyo, after scrapping a set of existing designs that were widely regarded to have exceeded cost restrictions and were also deemed by many to be unnecessarily extravagant.
The discarded plans, created by Zaha Hadid Architects, had been the source of much controversy with cost estimates for the new stadium, the main venue for the 2019 Tokyo Olympics, rising to in excess of ¥252bn (US$2 billion) from original estimates of US$1 billion.
However, shortly before last week’s cancellation announcement the UK-based architectural firm released a statement claiming that escalating costs for the 80,000 seat stadium were nothing to do with its design.
As reported by The Japan Times, Japanese Sports Minister Hakubun Shimomura has announced that construction will start on the new centerpiece for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in January or February next year.
A plan will be drawn up to set out the functions of the new building – with to be costed, and will be put out to tender before the end of 2015.
Minister Shimomura said the design and construction company will be chosen in an international competition, which will aim to complete the stadium by spring 2020.
However, Minister Shimomura’s announcement does not address the issue that Tokyo will now not have a stadium to host the opening and final match of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The new National Stadium had been central to Japan’s winning Rugby World Cup bid, and now an existing venue will need to host the final, likely to be the 72,000 seat International Stadium in Yokohama.
That venue will be one of 12 used to host Rugby World Cup matches in Japan with an average capacity of over 40,000.
However, World Rugby are understood to be considering removing the hosting of the event from Japan with behind-the-scenes discussions understood to be taking place with rugby bodies in Australia and the USA, as well as with expected 2023 Rugby World Cup bidding nations Ireland and South Africa.
Japan’s previous National Stadium, built for the 1964 Olympics, has already been demolished. Original plans called for work on the new stadium to begin this October, with an estimated completion date of May 2019.
Minister Shimomura also told a news conference that plans are being considered for an investigatory panel to determine how construction plans for the previous design rose to such extravagant heights.
Lower image shows Zaha Hadid Architects' original design for the Tokyo National Stadium.
21st May 2015 - COST CUTTING TO SEE NEW TOKYO OLYMPIC STADIUM LOSE ITS ROOF
3rd March 2015 - 12 JAPANESE VENUES TO HOST 2019 RUGBY WORLD CUP FIXTURES
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