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Japan cancels Zaha Hadid's Olympic stadium as costs soar

21 July 2015

The controversial design for the Olympic stadium was widely mocked on Japanese social media (Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha Hadid Architects’ design for Japan’s National Stadium (pictured), which was intended to host the 2020 Olympic games, has been scrapped.

The Japanese government said the controversial design and ballooning costs had caused them to reconsider their acceptance of the project.

Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, said: “I’ve been listening to the voices of the people and the athletes for about a month now, thinking about the possibility of a review. We must go back to the drawing board.”

ZHA blamed “Tokyo construction costs” and the strictness of Tokyo’s building codes for the rise in the design’s price tag.

The firm added: “It is not the case that the recently reported cost increases are due to the design, which uses standard materials and techniques well within the capability of Japanese contractors, and meets the budget set by the Japan Sports Council.”

A new design will be chosen from previously rejected proposals.

The stadium was also scheduled to host the 2019 Rugby World Cup; this will now be moved to another venue.

After the design was criticised by a group of Japanese architects, Zaha Hadid responded last December by saying: “They don’t want a foreigner to build in Tokyo for a national stadium. The fact that they lost is their problem – they lost the competition.”

The group had described the design as a “monumental mistake”, a “disgrace to future generations” and a “turtle waiting for Japan to sink so that it can swim away”.

The cost of the project was three times that of Populous’ Olympic stadium for London and five times that of Herzog & de Meuron’s Bird’s Nest for Beijing.

The new structure will be chosen and built within the next five years.

In November last year, Tokyo announced it would slash $1.7bn from Olympic construction budget and in December it emerged that Japan’s Olympic construction may endanger the Malaysian rainforest.

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