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Tokyo 2020


The New National Stadium is being built on the site of the old stadium, which was used for the Olympic Games Tokyo 1964 and which was knocked down in 2014. The project by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid was originally selected following an international contest organised by the Tokyo 2020 Candidature Committee. However, a new bidding process was held and it was eventually the project by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma that was chosen by the Candidature Committee. The project is intended to merge harmoniously with the urban and environmental setting, predominantly making use of natural materials.


The stadium will comprise two underground levels and five above-ground levels. The various levels will be surrounded by eaves covered with vertical cedar lattice. The building will be 50 metres high and have a flat roof structure, ensuring a more understated visual impact and greater harmony with the landscape. The truss of the roof will be made from a combination of Japanese larch lumber, cedar and steel. A skylight installed on the roof will ensure that a maximum amount of natural light reaches the field, helping the lawn to grow in particular in winter. Inside the stadium, the three-tier stands will be arranged in a bowl shape, with the inclination gradually becoming steeper.

As Tokyo is located in an earthquake zone, the stadium will meet strict earthquake-protection standards. In order to reduce the impact of deformation in the event of an earthquake or strong winds, oblique beams and steel braces will be installed on the upper floors. Oil dampers on the lower floors will absorb the energy unleashed by a potential earthquake. Spectators will be able to evacuate the stadium from any seat within 15 minutes.

Sustainable energy sources will be used for the running of the stadium. Seasonal winds, channelled into the stadium via the terraces and eaves, will discharge heat and moisture generated from the field and the spectators. Photovoltaic cells will be installed on the edge of the roof, and rainwater will be collected and used for the irrigation facilities for the field and the stadium’s green areas. A mist-cooling system to reduce the external temperature will be installed at the entrances and in some of the areas inside the stadium where people are likely to congregate.


The architect’s design places a particular focus on harmony between the natural building materials and the green backdrop of the surrounding Meiji Shrine gardens. Giving priority to locally sourced materials, various types of plant life native to Japan will decorate the stadium, and the eaves will be equipped with traditional Japanese stone and paper lanterns, which will provide the entire stadium with soft light.

Two areas – the Grove of the Sky, an 850m-long circular walkway on the upper level of the stadium, and the Forest of the Earth, a space around the stadium connected to the surrounding parks – are open to the general public, allowing them to relax and enjoy the views of the city and the surrounding greenery.

The National Stadium as a « holy place » for sports in Japan had witnessed many memorable competitions. Inheriting this history, the New National Stadium is being reborn as a center for sports and culture in a new age. Japan Sport Council

Following the Olympic Games, the stadium will become a new hub for sports competitions and activities in the region.


- The general wooden design of the stadium echoes the style of Japanese pagodas and temples. A traditional technique for laying boards, yamato-bari, will be used for the interior design of the stadium. Other internal areas, such as the lounges and changing rooms, will also use wooden décor.


- “Interview: Kengo Kuma discusses his upcoming projects at home and abroad”, website of DesignBoom.
- New National Stadium: Development Project Leaflet, Japan Sport Council, n. p.
- New National Stadium Development Project: To let you know more about the project, Japan Sport Council, n. p.
- “Olympic Sports - Athletics”, website of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
- “Tokyo breaks ground on £1.2bn national stadium for 2020 Olympics”, The Guardian, 11 December 2016.
- “Tokyo National Stadium: Kengo Kuma replaces Zaha Hadid”, website of DesignBoom, 22 December 2015.
- “Tokyo 2020 stadium breaks ground”, news, website of the International Olympic Committee, 12 December 2016.

Name: Also sometimes known as the National Stadium and New National Stadium.
Location: 10-1, Kasumigaokamachi, Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, Japan
Status: Being built for the Games on the site of the old national stadium.
Designers: Kengo Kuma and Associates (architects)
Taisei Corporation, Azusa Sekkei Co., Ltd. (contractors)
Cost: ~1.5 billion US dollars
Capacity: Between 60,000 and 80,000 spectators depending on the configuration.
Dimensions: 72,400m2 (surface area covered by the stadium)
Additional information: -
Construction: December 2016 to November 2019
Official opening: -
Events during the Games: Athletics (including the start and finish of the two marathons, not including the two 20km race walks and the 50km race walk), some of the matches in the football tournaments.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies.

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