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Skeleton-Style Tokyo Olympic Stadium Design to Be Scaled Back


Turns out not everyone in Japan loved the idea of a $1.3 billion 80,000-seat National Stadium in Tokyo. "It would be just too massive," came the cry from prominent Japanese architects—award-winning architect Fumihiko Maki and a group of 100 experts rallied together—reacting to the Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid’s design.

And now members of the government agree. While already approved, Hakubun Shimomura, the minister who oversees sports, announced the entire project to replace the 1964 Olympic Stadium in a downtown Tokyo park—including the surrounding infrastructure—would get scaled down before construction begins in 2014.

Exactly how, though, we aren’t so sure.

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Critics of the stadium didn't rally against the actual design elements--translucent skin outside with flowing roof ribs climbing to the grown. Shimomura says the design concept will remain in tact and still host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

In 1964, Tokyo sat just 54,000 folks in the Olympic venue. Is what’s good enough for 1964 good enough for 2020?

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for SI. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.