"New Olympic Stadium Tokyo 2020"
Architect and Designer of New Olympic Stadium
Friday, January 15, 2016, 13:00 - 14:30
Unlike other Japanese 'starchitects,' Kengo Kuma has yet to win the prestigious Pritzker Prize, but clinching the commission for the 2020 Olympics stadium will surely help cement his fame.
In fact, it was Kuma's well-known aversion to cement that helped secure his win. His design submission, with wood infusions and lots of greenery, reflects both Japanese tradition and his unique style.
A variety of factors have shaped Kuma's unusual eye for design. He often mentions his childhood home in Yokohama, a traditional wooden house with deep, shadowy interiors. His decision to become an architect, he says, was influenced by the iconic 1964 Tokyo Olympic Gymnasium by Kenzo Tange. Mentors from his days at Tokyo University in the late 1970s include professor/architect Hiroshi Hara and Fumihiko Maki, who persuaded Kuma to study at Columbia University. He opened Kengo Kuma and Associates in 1990.
The key to Kuma's win was partnering with construction firm Taisei to stay within the ¥153 billion budget and promising on-time delivery in November 2019.
Controversy, however, may continue to plague the process. Rumblings quickly surfaced from Zaha Hadid Architects that Kuma's design had similarities with theirs. ZHA won the first contest in 2012 (beating 45 other entries) but their design was abandoned in July last year over ballooning costs.
For many, the decision to award the new National Stadium commission to a homegrown design/construction team came with a sigh of relief.
Come to hear this remarkable architect share his thoughts on the controversy, his win over Toyo Ito, and plans for this history-making Olympic structure.