New National Stadium, Tokyo, is an Architectural Delight

Tokyo Olympics is still eight months away; however, it's new National Stadium has been officially completed and handed over to the owner and operator - Japan Sports Council. The $1.4 billion stadium has been created by architect Kengo Kuma and Associates with construction giant Taisei Corporation and design firm Azusa Sekkei Co as the JV partners. The new National Stadium was completed in 36 months.

Wooden Structures Architectural Designs-New National Stadium, Tokyo

New National Stadium, Tokyo

Wooden Structures Architectural Designs-New National Stadium, Tokyo

According to the architect firm, the large stadium has been designed as a collection of small-diameter pieces of wood, and the facade consists of overlapping, multi-layered eaves. The underside of each eave is covered with small-diameter wood louvers in an effort to express the tradition of beautiful eaves in Japanese architecture in an appropriate contemporary manner. Square cedar lumber measuring 105mm, the most common size in Japan, was split into three 50mm pieces, to create these louvers. The frequency and density of the louvers was varied in order to give a human-scale to the eave. The roof has a truss structure which combines steel beams and laminated lumber with a medium cross-section, utilizing the axial stiffness of wood to minimize deformation of the roof trusses due to wind or earthquakes.

Domestic lumber and abundant plants help the 47.4-meter-high woodland-themed stadium blend in with the surrounding greenery of Tokyo’s Meiji Jingu Gaien area. With five stories above ground level and two below, it’s the latest incarnation of Japanese sports’ spiritual home to be built in the neighbourhood. It replaces the National Stadium that was used as the main venue for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics which in turn took the place of Meiji Jingu Gaien Stadium.  

New National Stadium, Tokyo

The 68,000 seats, coloured in five different earth tones, create a mosaic representing sunbeams filtering through a forest. The careful attention paid to the accessibility guidelines published by the Olympic organizers has created a quality environment for spectators, regardless of age or disability. The first floor is on the ground level, facilitating smooth access for wheelchair users and those with mobility issues. The 500 spots designated for wheelchair users has been set so that even spectators standing in front of them will not obstruct their view. Meanwhile, natural air will circulate to help discharge heat and moisture generated, which will be supported by 185 airflow-creating fans and mist-cooling systems to keep fans and athletes alike cool.

New National Stadium, Tokyo

The total floor area of the new national Stadium is 194,000 sqm. A large number of Wi-Fi hot spots have been installed, allowing some 30,000 simultaneous connections to cope with the high demand anticipated during the games. The 850-meter-long fifth-floor concourse encircling the stadium will be open to the public even after the games when no events are held. From there, visitors can enjoy seasonal vistas of the cherry blossoms or the brilliant autumn leaves, as well as Shinjuku’s skyline, Tokyo Skytree and Mount Fuji.

New National Stadium, Tokyo

Hosting the opening and closing ceremonies along with football and both Olympic and Paralympic Athletics, the venue will leave a lasting impression and memories on Games spectators. “We believe the stadium will become an irreplaceable legacy – a place that will allow people to spend healthy and fulfilling days enjoying sport for another fifty years or even longer,”  said Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto.

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