Japanese architect says Hadid’s Tokyo stadium will be “a disgrace to future generations”

Japanese architect Arata Isozaki has expressed his “despair” towards the redesign of Zaha Hadid’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium, calling it a “monumental mistake”.

The 83-year old, being one of Japan’s leading architects, told the media that he was “shocked” to see the lack of dynamism in Hadad’s latest proposal which comprises of 80,000 seats.

Hadid’s redesign of the previous proposal was completed following protests over the original scheme.

Isozaki compared Hadid’s project to “a turtle waiting for Japan to sink so it can swim away”.

“The sight left me in despair,” he said. “”If the stadium gets built the way it is, Tokyo will surely be burdened with a gigantic white elephant.”

Hadid’s original design for the stadium caused controversy where architects including Toyo Ito, Sou Fujimoto, Kengo Kuma and Riken Yamamoto objected to the scale and cost of the stadium.

In response, the new proposal features changes in the shape of the building as well as the use of materials which stand as visually lighter and cost effective. Isozaki said these changes “satisfies nobody.”

He described the redesign as a compromise to Hadid’s artistic vision and added that if the stadium is built according to the new plans, it will become “a disgrace to future generations”.

The Japanese architect urged the organisers to either return to Hadid’s orginal design or allow her to completely redesign the complex.

He said: “Her professional skills are outstanding. No matter how difficult the situation, with personal, active participation she is capable of leaving her signature on the design. However, not even a glimpse of that can be seen in the current revised proposal.”

He suggested that Hadid’s stadium no longer be used to host the opening and closing ceremonies and instead use SANAA’s purpose-built stadium, whose design was the runner up in the competition.

“By taking this route, we can present an event to the rest of the world that is unconstrained by the traditional size of an arena, against a backdrop of scenery that represents the heart of Japan, not just Tokyo,” he explained. “By doing so, we can create a new format for the Olympics of the 21st century, here in Tokyo.”

Zaha Hadid’s firm responded: “As with all views on both sides of the discussion, we respect Mr Isozaki’s right to express his thoughts.”

The architecture studio described the current scheme as “user-focused and sustainable” and added that “all projects around the world go through this process of design evolution. The stadium’s scheme design has been developed with our Japanese partners and responds to the revised brief issued by the client earlier this year.”