It’s back to the drawing board for the 2020 Olympic stadium in Tokyo, as Japanese officials have decided to scrap the arena’s original Zaha Hadid design and open bidding for a new one.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday the government decided to “start over from zero” after the projected cost of building the 80,000-seat stadium nearly doubled from its original estimate.
The designer of the venue, which was to break ground in October and finish up in time to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup, said Tokyo’s spiraling construction costs, and not the design, are to blame for busting the project’s budget.
Abe’s announcement came as a surprise after Japanese officials insisted for weeks that construction would proceed as planned. Ditching the original design at this point means the 2019 Rugby championship games will have to move to another venue, most likely also in Tokyo.
If the stadium had been built as planned, it would have been the world’s most expensive sports arena, according to The Washington Post.