New smaller design released for 2020 Tokyo stadium

New smaller design released for 2020 Tokyo stadium
Courtesy of Japan Sport Council. The latest conceptual rendering of the new National Stadium.

The Japan Sport Council has released a basic design proposal for the new National Stadium in Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, which will serve as the main stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The total floor area is about 211,000 square meters, reflecting a reduction of more than 20 per cent from the initial design proposal in 2012. The new proposal, released Wednesday, also gives consideration to the protection of the surrounding environment and landscape.

Under the initial proposal, construction was set to cost as much as about ¥300 billion (S$3.7 billion), more than double the original estimate. The project was met with growing criticism for being too large, so parts of the stadium, including aisles, were scaled down and the cost was reduced to about ¥162.5 billion. The new stadium is scheduled to be completed in March 2019.

Plans include the introduction of advanced technologies, such as an environmentally conscious air conditioning system and seats that can be moved toward the field to give spectators a greater sense of immediacy.

Out of a total of 80,000 seats, about 15,000 will be movable, according to the design proposal.

During events such as concerts, the seats will remain in their normal position. For football and rugby matches, 19 rows of seats will be moved about 20 meters closer to the field to bring the front row near the pitch, which will be only 17.5 meters away.

In consideration of the fact that the 2020 Olympics will be held in summer, an air conditioning system that sends cold air from the backs of seats will be installed. The system conserves energy by utilizing heat from vaporization and cooling the air with pipes underground, where the temperature is lower.

In response to criticism that the larger size of the new stadium would harm the surrounding environment, the height was reduced to a maximum of 70 meters, five meters lower than the initial proposal. This will protect the surrounding landscape and scenery, including ginkgo trees in the Meiji Jingu Gaien area.

For the Paralympics, the capacity for visitors in wheelchairs will be increased to 400 seats. Terminals for information and internal announcements will be compiled in an audio system designed for the visually and hearing impaired.

The design also features disaster management countermeasures such as a quake-absorbing structure, and the stadium is designed to enable a full capacity audience to evacuate within 15 minutes. Emergency drinking water and food will be stored in the stadium as well.

Demolition of the current stadium is set to start in July.

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