Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Olympic Stadium to Be “Scaled Down”


UPDATE: The Washington Post reports that ’s minister of education, Hakubun Shimomura, has announced a plan to trim the budget proposed for the Olympic stadium (now expected to cost $3 billion) designed by Zaha Hadid Architects. While he did not reveal the details of the scale-down, he maintained that the “design concept will be kept.” 

Pritzker Prize laureate Fumihiko Maki has rallied together a number of Japanese architects – including Sou Fujimoto, Toyo Ito and Kengo Kuma – to oppose the massive scale of Zaha Hadid’s competition-winning National Stadium. Planned to be ’s main venue for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games, Hadid’s 290,000 square meter stadium is accused of being “too big and too artificial” for the surrounding context. 


“I hope that this protest is successful in shrinking the design to fit the context,” Fujimoto commented to Architects’ Journal. “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.”


In an effort to lead the protest, Maki has organized the symposium “Re-thinking the New National Olympic Stadium in the historical context of Gaien,” which will be live-streamed tomorrow.  Toyo Ito, Hidenobu Jinnai, Shinji Miyadai and Tetsuo Furuichi are expected to participate. 

Cite: Rosenfield, Karissa. "Zaha Hadid’s 2020 Olympic Stadium to Be “Scaled Down”" 25 Oct 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • hotcommodity

    Looks like a really ugly, super aerodynamic bike helmet.

    • Clay

      haha, actually looks like quite a nice helmet, but there lay the problem, it’s just a gigantic helmet.

  • Olu Fagbewesa

    Someone has got to put a stop to Zaha’s madness…Lol..Good call!

    • michel

      que locura!!?? eres uun imbecil!

  • Pierre Hugo

    The object has landed.

  • Pierre Hugo

    The object has landed

  • snarkitect

    yes, a stadium that is designed to hold tens of thousands (hundreds of thousands?) will surely fit into a smaller scale. I can not explain why zaha didn’t incorporate a dimension hopping device in her design so it would appear no larger than a townhouse from the outside.

  • martin

    surely Japan has enough high profile skilled architects that can satisfy the brief and the people instead of drafting in miss-all-her-buildings-look-the-same..Japan’s all about minimalism and efficient use of space, this doesn’t look like either..

  • Ted Wu

    Any party which made the decision to use this architect’s design services deserves
    the consequences of its decision. Just look at her other “achievements”.

  • William E Swank

    Too big —- one trick pony.

  • John-David Carling

    why are they moving the swimming facility from London to Japan? :)

  • Boaz Oh

    I think it is very fare opposition. Architecture cannot be sustain itself without context.

  • archi

    Was her office the only entrant in the competition?

  • Milana Maladkar

    The design blends with its immediate context and the proposal is worked out for the requirements… The olympic games is a massive event and i personally feel the design is apt, it could also be a new urban landmark… A great job Zaha Hadid mam… I really hope all the clouds of doubts are cleared and the design gets a clear go….

  • Steeevyo

    Zaha won an international competition fair and square.
    She fulfilled the brief. It was not for her to make the brief smaller.
    So this kind of pathetic for sore losers like Maki now raising a stink.
    You lost. Deal with it.

    • Tsukiyo

      Hadid can win any competition with her fame…

    • yulia G

      i feel the same with your so-called pathetic losers and i know many more fellow architects, non-architects who felt the same way, does that make us all pathetic losers? and what has got to do with losing? if the jury has chosen her work, does that means it is “good”?

      kudos to these architects who took the initiative which we are too lazy, coward etc to do.

      btw, is that you zaha?

    • MariaC

      Maki has developed a whole theory around Japan, urbanism and architecture scale. It’s just ignorant to call him pathetic, showing that you, like many other architects, do not read and sometimes get blinded by all the flashy architecture that dies after their main purpose has been fulfilled.
      I think as a Japanese architect he has the right not only to complain but to speak out, after all its his city that is getting messed up by a obsolete object.

  • Junji Shirai

    I am an architect residing in Japan and like many other architects, I am deeply concerned about the proposed new Olympic stadium which is currently under heavy discussion on its merrit as well as general negatives.
    Aside from its gigantic form that does not seem to represent the proud culture and heritage of Japan, the most of the problems lie within the process of establishing the requirements and programs for the competition. First, Tokyo local government quietly altered its height limitation to 5 times higher than current building code just to accomodate the 290,000 sqm or so of floos space within rather limited site. Whether such floor area is needed or not is another big question but it is known among architects that obtaining a relaxed height limit from city is one of the almost impossible task, and it takes few years to get it if lucky.
    The proposed site has been part of historical Jingu outer garden offered by Emperor for the public use and one of the most important Western style open spaces Japan posseses. It is one few places where people can stroll under heavily planted greens with birds tweeking and color of autumn leaves.
    The cheif judge is none other than Tadao Ando who is known as a leading architect for the environmentaly harmonious architecture, but the decision he made gave us unanswered question why. The sporting facility that houses over 80,000 spectators will pose extremely high running cost even none of those big events are taking place, and as the program calls that the field needs to accomodate 400m track as well as the lawn for football games, the proposed design would inevitably keep spectators away from where the action is taking place. This is the critical point for the games such as football and rugby where people want to watch how players kick and dribble ball and shaking goalnet when goal is done.
    Us architects as well as commoners do suspect that there was unknown pressure (a lot of it) from political powers and industrial giants to make it big without much concerns as to what would be built and left to the next generations. Let alone destroying one of the most precious natural environment that we all love.
    I need to make it clear that I am not against Hadid design but it could have been more appreciated if built elswhere.

    • Knightly

      You know what,I just really appreciate your Japanese valuing your tradition

    • jr

      Sharia San, the people that know the local area and culture are ones ones who know what’s best. Good luck to those who oppose this design. 頑張ってよ。

  • Paul Schütze

    The design expresses characteristic hubris and contempt for context. When will her sports-tech-mannerist follies be recognised for what they are. Let’s hope the Japanese can thwart this dismal proposal.

  • Luis Cesar Corradini Faleiros

    In the first time that I saw this design it looks good for me. But rethink, the scale it’s really too big for the context. And I agree that looks like a big bike helmet.

  • Typhoon

    I first thought that this was the design for the cycling venue,
    as the stadium looks like a gigantic bicycle helmet.


  • EFL

    The discussion on context and scale seems a bit strange coming from the nation that gave us the Metabolist movement. but the issue of scale really shouldn’t be up for discussion because scale is set not by the architect but by the capacity set by the competition, if you look at all the entrants the scale is the same. Lastly it seems that many in this discussion don’t really understand how competitions and architectural design stages work, competitions are nothing more than concepts which if selected will be gutted and developed into something different far less flamboyant than a rendering.

  • Knightly

    I really hate it when Zaha build such giantic thing in historical is just a big scar.disgusting.same as the Galaxy Soho in our China

  • Scott Warner

    Someone needs to stop Zaha Hadid, her designs have now gotten completely out of control. People do not select Zaha’s designs for their quality, but rather for their brand recognition. It is now cool for a city to showcase its very own Zaha, in the same manner that individual citizens flaunt Rolexs and Louis Vitton handbags not because of their design quality, but because of brand recognition. Her firm will continue to churn out these 2nd rate parametric monsters than ignore their context, fail to meet the demands of their programs (just look at London’s Aquatic Center), have no regard for the social impact of their buildings, and lack any form of design ingenuity.

  • AdrianoF

    Yes it does look too big. I hope they just messed up the scale on the renderings…

  • carmen

    in romania one of her projects vas was something similar

  • Ben M

    perhaps there’s an opportunity here for zaha to work closely with her japanese peers to get it right? and perhaps do her best work from a more informed cultural position….


    i cant walk so far

  • whoever

    all her buildings look similar – it’s like a signature, looks always similar but unique

  • Psy

    From the top/ bird eye view, it looks like either Zaha’s or an alien vagina..

  • Rhino Guru

    Well… look here, Open-File-2020 Olympic Stadium.3dm-contrl+A-scale.

  • jr

    The funny thing for me is all the people who respond to this design without knowing the context, design or really much of anything. Believe it or not, you’re uniformed decision is unwarranted.

  • Pelic

    Actually, not one of her best design, but not bad. I hate that kind of debate generally, but I have to admit the scale of the project is a bit riddiculous. I love Zaha, but there is a problem here


    as a matter of its scale it depend on its function but it has to in harmony with the environment