Update: The Japan Sport Council has now unveiled images of ZHA's redesigned Tokyo National Stadium, which Zaha Hadid Architects say will make "make the stadium even more efficient, user-focussed, adaptable and sustainable." The capacity of the stadium will remain at 80,000 seats.
After sustained protest from Japanese architects and citizens alike, Zaha Hadid Architects have confessed that they are modifying their designs for Tokyo's National Stadium, the centerpiece for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. After repeated criticism, including a petition launched by Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki, the Japanese Government had already announced a plan to reduce the cost from its original budget of $3 billion to a more manageable $1.7 billion.
Now, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added fuel to the fire by saying that it would support a scaled-back plan for the entire event: "We want to see more existing venues, we want to see the use of more temporary grandstands," said Committee vice president John Coates.
More on Tokyo's plan to dial down its Olympics after the break
Last month, Japan announced that it was revisiting plans for ten of its Olympic projects, thanks to unexpectedly high construction costs, with bids for one facility coming in at 15 times the estimated cost. In addition to this, there are concerns that excessive construction plans in Tokyo will sideline the ongoing reconstruction work to fix the damage of the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami.
Suggesting alternatives for the Japanese government, Coates added: "It may be that there are new venues and existing venues at the moment that are dedicated for just one sport, where with good programming you could do two."
Those petitioning against Zaha Hadid's designs have taken the opportunity to put the campaign into overdrive: on Saturday, 500 protesters circled the existing National Stadium, carrying placards with slogans such as "We want a compact and economical Olympics."
The exact nature of the changes to Hadid's design have not yet been unveiled, but with the Japanese Government, Japanese public and the IOC all aiming for less dramatic plans for the 2020 Games, it seems unlikely that the event's main stadium will escape unchanged. Whether this will meet the approval of the protesters is another question entirely.