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Zaha Says Tokyo Stadium Critics are Embarrassing Themselves

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Speaking to a Dezeen reporter at the ground-breaking of her 1000 Museum tower in Miami last Friday, Zaha Hadid fired back at the coalition of Japanese architects protesting the size and budget of her design for Tokyo's 2020 Olympic stadium. "I think it's embarrassing for them," Hadid told Dezeen. "I understand it's their town. But they're hypocrites."

Fumihiko Maki, Toyo Ito, Kengo Kuma, and Sou Fujimoto rallied against Hadid's design last year, and were unmoved by the revisions to the project announced this summer, following a 500-person street protest against the plan. In November, after the original coalition championed an alternative plan, designed by Toyo Ito, to adapt the existing 1964 Olympic national stadium, architect Arata Isozaki joined in, calling the revised design a "monumental mistake," and suggesting that organizers could obviate the need for the new stadium by simply holding the opening ceremony elsewhere.

To Hadid, all of these efforts amount to sour grapes, and resentment that the competition was won by an outsider. "They don't want a foreigner to build in Tokyo for a national stadium," said Hadid. "On the other hand, they all have work abroad. Whether it's Sejima, Toyo Ito, or Maki or Isozaki or Kengo Kuma."

Hadid points out that some of her critics, including Toyo Ito, were among the 11 finalists for the stadium design competition. "The fact that they lost is their problem," she continued. "If they are against the idea of doing a stadium on that site, I don't think they should have entered the competition."

"Many of them were friends of mine, actually the ones which I supported before like Toyo Ito, who I worked with on a project in London," said Hadid. "I've known him for a long time. It saddens me. What can I do? They're going ahead with it irrespective."

· Zaha Hadid says Tokyo stadium criticism is "embarrassing" for Japanese architects [Dezeen]