After extensive back-and-forth, criticism from colleagues, and a public meme campaign, Zaha Hadid's stadium design for the Tokyo Olympics was rejected by the Japanese government. "The current plan will go back to being a blank sheet of paper, and we will rethink it from scratch," said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe yesterday. The cancellation of Hadid's controversial design, set to start construction next year, already has consequences for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, which is now forced to find a new venue. But what about the 2020 Games? A new stadium design will need to quickly be approved so crews can break ground in time for the opening ceremony. We've come up with a few ideas for architects to oversee the controversial project, including a slate of Japanese designers that go beyond expected picks such as Herzog & De Meuron; hopefully, the next architect isn't subject to the same amount of second-guessing. Update: Zaha Hadid has removed herself from the competition as of September 18, citing an inability to find a contractor to partner with in creating a new design, a requirement of the new contest.
Hadid suggested that there was an bias at play in the decision to opposed her design, and that many organizers, and her Japanese colleagues, wanted a homegrown designer to create the architectural centerpiece of the 2020 games. With that, and the organizer's stated goal of creating a cost-effective games, why not hire Pritzer winner Shigeru Ban to create a brilliant, temporary structure for the Olympics? His Cardboard Cathedral suggests he can work on large scales with humble materials, and a recent office park in Switzerland showcased a way with tall-timber construction. Giving him a massive canvas to create a sustainable and reusable piece of art would make a statement.
While NLE principal Kunlé Adeyemi is known for more radical projects such as Makoko Floating School, a buoyant building set in a Lagos lagoon, his eye for vernacular techniques and street-level sense of community make a stadium commission in Japan an interesting thought experiment.
From the New Museum in New York to the Vitra factory building, this Pritzker-winning firm has designed a series of striking pavilions and facades, which suggest they'd make a solid choice for the Shinjuku site.
Known for stark buildings that sculpt and shape the path of natural light, Ando's proclivities towards monumental interiors would be put to good use on a large-scale stadium project. Imagine seeing athletes parade in front of a facade such as the one gracing the Suntory Museum, or past a reflecting pool like the one Ando designed for the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth.
Henning Larsen Architects
The namesake firm of the late Danish architect excels at large-scale cultural projects, creating unorthodox and playful facades (see the joyful slopes of the Wave building). The brilliant honeycombs of colored glass gracing the Reykjavik Concert and Congress Centre offer a tantalizing glimpse of what they could do with a huge stadium commission.
A younger Japanese talent who created a gorgeous, open design for the Serpentine Gallery a few years ago, Fujimoto would make a great nod to developing a newer generation of architects. His game-like grids force people to look at space in a new way; extrapolating those ideas from a residential level to a building that holds thousands could create something completely unexpected.
Winning the coveted Pritzker Prize in 2013, Ito's work is a bit brainier than some of his compatriots on this list, with work like his great feat of earthquake-resistant engineering, the Sendai Mediatheque library and media center, being among his best-known works. Ito, too, has experience building sporting venues, like the World Games Stadium in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.
Sure, her original design as rejected, and it seems like a second submission would create a tense situation, to say the least. But after winning the contest fair and square, perhaps it makes sense to give Dame Hadid an opportunity to rework her curvaceous design.
The Pritzker Prize-winning architect (a 1993 laureate) is a bit of an elder statesman of Japanese design, and is perhaps best known in the contemporary era for designing the new 4 world Trade Center. But long before that New York tower reached its final height, Maki designed the 1954 Tokyo Metropolitan Gymanisum, a venue in the World Wrestling Championship. It's also set to host the table tennis competition in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.