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Zaha Hadid Architects win competition to redesign Japan’s National Stadium

Zaha Hadid Architects win competition to redesign Japan’s National Stadium
November 24, 2012

The Japan Sport Council (JSC) has announced its selection of UK architects Zaha Hadid Architects to redesign Tokyo's Kasumigaoka National Stadium.

The 80,000-seat stadium is being redeveloped for the country's staging of the 2019 Rugby World Cup and as part of Tokyo's bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.

The London-based architecture firm, led by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, who in 2004 became the first woman to be awarded the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize, beat out stiff competition from architects around the globe.

Its recent designs include the 17,500-capacity London Aquatics Centre, the Guangzhou Opera House in China and MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts, in Rome.

The competition, which received a total of 46 applicants, restricted entry to practices which had been recipients of the Pritzker Prize, an AIA gold medal, UIA gold medal, Praemium Imperiale or RIBA gold medal.

Applicants were also required to have experience of designing a stadium with a capacity of 15,000 or more.

The 48 entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 11, including London 2012 architects Populous; Sydney-based Cox Architecture, a major player in the design of venues for the 2000 Olympics games as well as Melbourne's AAMA Park; and Japan's 2010 Pritzker Prize winners SANAA.

The judges, led by celebrated Japanese architect Tadao Ando, were taken by the fluidity and novelty of Hadid's design, and how it complements Tokyo's crowded geographic and cultural landscape.

A JSC statement explained "the entry's dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world.

"The stadium's retractable roof also makes it easily transformable from a sports venue to a concert venue."

Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda added "Japan's newly refurbished stadium will have one of the largest spectator capacities in the world, and will also offer the finest hospitality.

"A state-of-the-art stadium like Kasumigaoka is another indication that Tokyo is ready to deliver a dynamic celebration that reinforces and renews the Olympic Values for a new generation."

The runners-up were designs submitted by Cox's Alastair Richardson and Japan's Kazuyo Sejima of SANAA and Nikken Sekkei Ltd.

For more information go to


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