- Kengo Kuma, the architect of Tokyo's new 2020 Olympic stadium, is defending his design against ousted designer Zaha Hadid's comments that it has "remarkable similarities" to hers, Bloomberg News reported. Kuma's design is estimated to cost $1.26 billion, almost $1 billion less than Hadid's.
- Hadid also claims that after her design was ditched because of spiraling costs, as well as negative public reaction, the engineering and construction companies which had worked with her design, and had access to detailed drawings and plans, also worked with Kuma, Bloomberg reported.
- Kuma maintains that his design varies significantly from Hadid's and says any similarity in "seating arrangements and angles," as Hadid has previously pointed out, is a result of "the conditions of the project."
The run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Games has not been an easy one for Japan. The country, in the midst of an economic downturn, has been forced to cut spending for all aspects of the Games, which is one of the reasons Hadid's design was so ill received. The public saw it as a questionable choice, given that its costs for the Games have risen three times from the original estimate of $16.7 billion.
Japan's sports minister even resigned over the stadium controversy.
However, things may be turning around for Olympic organizers, as response to Kuma's stadium design has been positive. Aside from its lower costs, the simple design is more in tune with the Japanese aesthetic and the "bucolic" stadium site. The new stadium is steel, wood, and based on traditional temple designs. The stadium also features a relatively flat roof with shrubbery along the outer concourses, with its track and field below ground level.