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Townhouse in Takaban / Niji Architects

  • Architects: Niji Architects
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Architect in Charge: Masafumi Harada + Maiko Taniguchi
  • Construction: o-works Co.,Ltd.
  • Area: 73.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2014
  • Photographs: Niji Photo

© Niji Photo © Niji Photo © Niji Photo © Niji Photo

Zaha Hadid Backs Down From Second Tokyo Olympic Stadium Bid

Just two weeks after the Japan Sport Council launched a second call for New National Stadium proposals, Zaha Hadid Architects and partner Nikken Sekkei have withdrawn from the competition. Although the duo promised to develop a "cost-effective" design that strictly adhered to the new competition's scaled down brief, they were unable to secure a contractor and therefore were forced to step down from the competition. 

"It is disappointing that the two years of work and investment in the existing design for a new National Stadium for Japan cannot be further developed to meet the new brief through the new design competition," said ZHA in a press release.  

Some Thoughts on Zaha Hadid Architects' Campaign to Win Back the Tokyo Stadium Commission

Zaha Hadid Architects are no longer the architects of the New National Stadium, Tokyo's headline venue for the 2020 Olympic Games. You probably already knew - ZHA have been making quite a fuss about it, with a 1,400-word statement released last month and a 23-minute video released yesterday, both arguing that scrapping their design is a bad idea.

Clearly, brevity is not one of ZHA's strong suits, so for those who don't have 30-plus minutes to chew their way through both video and statement, the basics are as follows: the official reason given by the Japanese government for scrapping the stadium has been the rising costs of the design. ZHA have countered this complaint by saying that the rising costs are not a result of their design but of an uncompetitive tender process for the construction, and of skyrocketing construction prices across the whole of Tokyo. They add that by starting the project from scratch, Japan risks overshooting their 2020 deadline for the Olympic venue.

An extra complication is added by the widespread public dislike of the stadium's design, scale and location - most notably coming in the form of a petition led by Fumihiko Maki and Toyo Ito - which has caused some to speculate that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is secretly bowing to political pressure. In response, ZHA's video emphasized the features of the design which were either required by the brief or an attempt to respond to the context, in an attempt to absolve themselves from blame.

However, with the decision to start anew now over a month old, the question remains: will ZHA's attempts to win back the project be enough? More importantly, should this campaign be taken seriously?

© Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia © Zaha Hadid Architects. Image by Methanoia

Lamenting the Loss of Hotel Okura, One of Tokyo's Modernist Gems

The news last year that the Hotel Okura, often described as one of Tokyo´s "Modernist gems," was to be demolished was met with widespread disappointment across the board. Built in 1962 under the design direction of Yoshiro Taniguchi, Hideo Kosaka, Shiko Munakata, and Kenkichi Tomimoto, the hotel has long been considered a significant architectural landmark in the Japanese capital. With only a week to go until the hotel checks out its last guest, Monocle—having been granted exclusive access—have shared with us a film to capture "the gracious ways of this much-loved building."

Housecut / Starpilots

© Satoshi Asakawa © Satoshi Asakawa © Satoshi Asakawa © Satoshi Asakawa

Toronto Takes Top Spot in Metropolis Magazine's Livable Cities Ranking

How do you compare cities? It's difficult to collapse millions of individual subjective experiences into a single method of comparison, but one popular technique used in recent years has been to judge a city's "livability." But what does this word actually mean? In their 2015 ranking of the world's most livable cities, Metropolis Magazine has gathered together a group of experts on city planning, urban life, tourism and architecture to break down "livability" into the categories they think matter and draw upon Metropolis' considerable urban coverage to produce one of the most thorough attempts to rank world series yet attempted. Find out the results after the break.

Richard Rogers Speaks Out Against Japan's Decision to Scrap Zaha Hadid Stadium

Last month, Japan officially scrapped plans for the controversial Zaha Hadid Architects-designed National Stadium that was intended to be the centerpiece of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Since the decision, ZHA released a statement that denied responsibility for the project's ballooning costs, saying the Japan Sport Council (JSC) has been approving the project's design and budget "at every stage."

Now, British architect Richard Rogers, who served on the jury that selected ZHA's stadium design, has joined the conversation claiming Japan has "lost their nerve" and warning that their decision to "start over from zero" will harm Japan's "reputation as a promoter of world-class architectural design."

Read on for Roger's full statement:

NYT Style Magazine Explores the Cultural Reasons Behind the Demolition of Japan's Hotel Okura

About a year ago, it was announced that Hotel Okura, one of Tokyo’s best-known modernist landmarks, was headed for demolition. With the impending demolition date of the hotel, deemed a “beautiful orphan child,” set for this September, an article from T: The New York Times Style Magazine’s upcoming Women’s Fashion issue looks at Japan's "ambivalent — and unsentimental — relationship with its Modernist architecture."

Zaha Hadid Architects Releases Full Statement on Scrapped Tokyo Stadium Plans

Following the news earlier this month that their design for Tokyo's 2022 Olympics stadium would be scrappedZaha Hadid Architects have released a comprehensive statement about the project's cancellation. Despite the many critics of the project's design - including Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki - it was ultimately the project's increasing costs that sparked its demise. However, the 1400-word statement from ZHA attempts to put distance between the firm and the claim by the Japan Sport Council (JSC) that much of the increase in costs was due to a complex design, instead arguing that "At every stage over the two years of development, the design and budget estimates were approved by the JSC" and adding a number of times that "ZHA worked proactively to reduce the estimated cost throughout."

Read on after the break to find out where ZHA pins the blame for the cost increases and to read the statement in full.

NOIE - Cooperative House / YUUA Architects & Associates

  • Architects: YUUA Architects & Associates
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Architect in Charge: Madoka Aihara & Tomokazu Shimizu
  • Interior Designers: YUUA Architects and Associates(NOIE K), SOL style(NOIE A)
  • Area: 796.0 sqm
  • Project Year: 2012
  • Photographs: SOBAJIMA Toshihiro

© SOBAJIMA Toshihiro © SOBAJIMA Toshihiro NOIE K. Image © SOBAJIMA Toshihiro NOIE Complex. Image © SOBAJIMA Toshihiro

Zaha Hadid's Designs for the Tokyo National Stadium to be Scrapped

Following the news in 2012 that Zaha Hadid Architects had won a competition to design the 80,000-seat Tokyo National Stadium as a centerpiece for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan’s Prime Minister has announced that the plans are to be scrapped. Citing spiralling costs as a key reason, Shinzo Abe has declared that the stadium, which was set to replace the existing Kasumigaoka National Stadium, would not be completed in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup nor the 2020 Olympic Games as originally planned.

Create a Mini Metropolis with Sticky Page Markers

Building a city has never been so easy. With Duncan Shotton Design Studio's Sticky Page Markers you can create your own urban landscape, while marking the pages of your books, catalogues, or notes.

Kengo Kuma, SANAA and Nikken Design New Shibuya Skyscraper

Tokyu Corporation has unveiled a new skyscraper planned will rise adjacent to Tokyo's Shibuya Station. A collaborative design by Japanese firms Kengo KumaSANAA and Nikken, the 230-meter mixed use tower will feature an unprecedented, 3,000-square-meter public sky deck that promises "views of Mt. Fuji" (on a clear day).  

The Shibuya tower is planned to open in 2019, a year before the Tokyo Olympics.

Pharmacy in Omori / MAMM DESIGN

  • Architects: MAMM DESIGN
  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • Lighting Designer: LIGHTDESIGN
  • Project Year: 2015
  • Photographs: Takumi Ota

© Takumi Ota © Takumi Ota © Takumi Ota © Takumi Ota


The architectonic models of 41 Japanese architects are on display at the Triennale di Milano. Using models created by a wide variety of Japanese architects – including Kengo Kuma, Tetsuo Furuichi, Shigeru Ban, Arata Isozaki, Koh Kitayama, Rike Yamamoto, Archi Depot Tokyo Exhibition explores the visions of the architects.

The Shelter Corporation Announces 17th International Architectural Design Competition for Students

Japanese office, The Shelter Corporation, has announced their 17th international architectural ideas competition, open to undergraduate and post-graduate students (as of September 11, 2015) across the world. The Shelter Corporation, which focuses on timber and wood-framed buildings, hosts this competition annually to generate discussion among students on the future of wood and timber construction. Believing in the importance of a sustainable built environment, the firm hopes that this competition can be the gateway for many young architects-to-be to enter the workplace with new ideas.

Monocle 24 Travels to Tokyo, Vienna and Melbourne Examining 'Quality of Life'

For this week's editions of Section DMonocle 24's weekly review of design, architecture and craft, and The Urbanist, their weekly "guide to making better cities," the Monocle team travel across three continents exploring the seemingly illusive question of 'quality of life.'

In this week's edition of The Urbanist, and to coincide with Monocle's annual Quality of Life survey, Andrew Tuck examines why Tokyo is at the forefront of an urban-garden revolution, how the Austrian capital is planning on self-facilitating its development as a major business hub, and talks to Robert Doyle, Lord Mayor of Melbourne, about the apparent cultural boom currently taking place in his city. In Section D, Josh Fehnert transports listeners to the UK's "post-industrial heartland" to talk to the people behind this year's Sheffield Design Week, plus more.

Listen to both episodes after the break.

Japan Stands Behind Plans to Build Zaha Hadid's Tokyo Stadium

Despite harsh criticism for being too large and costly, Tokyo's 2020 Zaha Hadid-designed National Stadium will be realized. As USA Today reports, the Japanese government has announced its decision to move forward with the design, saying any major modifications would lead to construction delays. 

The 80,000-seat stadium has already undergone some design changes, due to backlash led by Pritzker laureates Toyo Ito and Fumihiko Maki; it's most recent design is said to be more "efficient, user-focussed, adaptable and sustainable." However controversy continues as the city and central government must now decide how to split the stadium's estimated $2 billion bill.