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Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium criticized by other architects

Oct 10, 2013, 2:58 PM EDT

Tokyo 2020 AP

The futuristic-looking Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium is coming under criticism from the Japanese architecture community.

Japanese architects are slamming the proposed 80,000-seat venue, saying it’s too big and setting up a symposium to protest against its “size and scale,” according to Architects’ Journal, a weekly British magazine.

The 2016 Olympic Stadium will seat 60,000. The 2008 Olympic Stadium capacity was 91,000, and the 2012 Olympic Stadium capacity was 80,000.

London-based architect Zaha Hadid, who designed the 2012 Olympic Aquatics Center, won a contest to design Tokyo 2020’s national stadium last year, before Tokyo beat Istanbul and Madrid for the right to host the 2020 Olympics.

The new stadium will reportedly cost $1.3 billion and have a retractable roof. Construction is scheduled to start in 2015 with completion in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

Fumihiko Maki, 85, is leading the opposition. Maki is a winner of the Pritzker Prize, an award that’s been called the Nobel Prize of architecture.

“I hope that his protest is successful in shrinking the design to fit the context,” Sou Fujimoto, another architect, told the magazine. “I’m not fighting Zaha. The competition for the stadium was very rigorous, and we can’t overturn everything. But the design could be better.”

Tokyo last hosted the Olympics in 1964, and that national stadium still stands today but is now set to be demolished and replaced.

“One hopes that, as Zaha’s design is worked through in detail, the stadium’s interface with urban neighborhoods and parkland on its periphery will be significantly softer,” architect Alastair Townsend told the magazine. “The current renderings don’t show a single tree on the site.”

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