Tokyo Olympic Stadium construction commences

Construction has begun on Kengo Kuma’s National Stadium for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics – the design that was controversially selected to replace Zaha Hadid’s competition-winning scheme.

A ground-breaking ceremony for the latticed timber stadium has been staged and the structure is expected to complete in three and a half years’ time to host the event

Japanese architect Kuma designed the building as an oval structure with a huge oculus above the track.

Seating stands will be sheltered below the latticed larch and steel canopy, and circulation areas around the edge of each level will feature plants and trees, to respect the surrounding park.

Kuma’s design was selected in an anonymous competition after the Japanese prime minister scrapped plans for a stadium designed by the late British-Iraqi architect Hadid in 2015.

Escalating costs were cited as the primary reason for abandoning Hadid’s design, which was expected to complete in 2018.

Kuma and Toyo Ito, who was also in the running to design the stadium, were among a group of eminent Japanese architects that protested against Hadid’s proposal, saying that its scaledid not fit the site – a wooded area beside Kenzo Tange’s 1964 Olympic stadium.