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Zaha Hadid Doesn't Deserve the Tokyo Stadium Commission, and Here's Why

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

Zaha Hadid Architects Release Video Presentation and Report on New National Stadium in Tokyo

In mid-July, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe declared that ZHA's design for a New National stadium would not be completed and that plans for the Tokyo Olympics-Paralympics stadium would "start from zero." In response Zaha Hadid Architects has just issued a press release and a link to a 23-minute video presentation. The video, ZHA explains, "outline[s] in detail the unique design for the New National Stadium which has been developed over two years to be the most compact and efficient stadium for this very special location in Tokyo. Zaha Hadid Architects welcomes a new contractor bidding process for the New National Stadium to reduce costs and ensure value for money in terms of quality, durability and long-term sustainability."

Watch the video - or if you haven't got 23 minutes, read our synopsis - after the break.

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

Exhibition: Childhood ReCollections

Zaha Hadid, Kengo Kuma, Daniel Libeskind, Nieto Sobejano, Denise Scott Brown and Philip Treacy reveal the childhood recollections that have shaped their outstanding visions and work.

Zaha Hadid Unveils High Line Installation

With the construction of their High Line-adjacent residential building 520 West 28th Street, Zaha Hadid Architects have constructed a temporary construction shelter to protect pedestrians in the event of any falling construction materials. However, as is often the case with Zaha Hadid designs, this is a construction shelter unlike any other, serving as a protective shelter but also as an artistic installation.

Named Allongé, the installation is "is inspired by the connectivity and dynamism of movement along the High Line," allowing visitors to the High Line to move through 34 meters (112 feet) of sweeping metallic fabric supported by a curvilinear steel frame, offering a spatial experience that foreshadows the presence of Hadid's building at the site.

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.

25 Architects You Should Know

As an unavoidable art form, “architecture is one of humanity’s most visible and long-lasting forms of expression,” writes Complex Media. Within the past 150 years—the period of modern architecture—a distinct form of artistry has developed, significantly changing the way we look at the urban environments around us. To highlight some of the key figures in architecture over the past 150 years, Complex Media has created a list of “25 Architects You Should Know,” covering a range of icons including Zaha Hadid, Ieoh Ming Pei, Philip Johnson, Oscar Neimeyer, SOM, Daniel Libeskind, and more. Read the full list to learn more about each iconic architect, here.

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.

"Baby Rems" and the Small World of Architecture Internships

The world of architecture is small. So small in fact, that Rem Koolhaas has been credited with the creation of over forty practices worldwide, led by the likes of Zaha Hadid and Bjarke Ingels. Dubbed “Baby Rems” by Metropolis Magazine, this Koolhaas effect is hardly an isolated pattern, with manifestations far beyond the walls of OMA. The phenomenon has dominated the world of architecture, assisted by the prevalence and increasing necessity of internships for burgeoning architects.

In a recent article for Curbed, Patrick Sisson dug into the storied history of internships to uncover some unexpected connections between the world's most prolific architects. With the help of Sisson's list, we've compiled a record of the humble beginnings of the household names of architecture. Where did Frank Gehry get his start? Find out after the break.

Renzo Piano's pavilion at Louis Kahn's Kimbell Art Museum. Image © Robert Laprelle Jeanne Gang worked on OMA's Maison Bordeaux. Image © Hans Werlemann, courtesy OMA Mies van der Rohe worked on Behren's AEG Turbine Factory. Image © Flickr CC user Joseph The Guaranty Building in Buffalo, New York by Louis Sullivan. Image Courtesy of Jack E. Boucher

Zaha Hadid Named "New Londoner of the Year"

New London Architecture (NLA) has named the winners of this years New London Awards, celebrating the best projects and architects shaping London today. Taking home top honors, Zaha Hadid was crowned "New Londoner of the Year" for her influential work, both in the UK and abroad. The jury commended Hadid for "her role as a champion of design to both the government and the general public alike," citing her success with the London Aquatic Center and the Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Out of the 51 projects awarded, Pringle Richards Sharratt's Black Cultural Archives (BCA) in Brixton was named London's best new building. The Grade II listed structure, which had been on the English Heritage's Heritage at Risk Register since 1992, was restored as a new home for BCA’s extensive archives, serving as an exemplar for preservation and reuse

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.

Exhibition: Zaha Hadid at The State Hermitage Museum

The first retrospective exhibition of her work in Russia, Zaha Hadid at The State Hermitage Museum provides unprecedented insight into the work of Zaha Hadid in a mid-career retrospective highlighting her exploration of the Russian Avant-garde at the beginning of her career, and the continuing influence of its core principles on her work today.

The exhibition, in the historic Nicolaevsky Hall of the Winter Palace, showcases many of the seminal paintings, drawings, models and design objects of Hadid’s forty-year repertoire; conveying the ingenuity and dynamism of her architectural projects in variety of media including film, photography and installations.

Zaha Hadid Designs Two "Sculptural" Towers for Australia's Gold Coast

Zaha Hadid has unveiled plans for two "sculptural" towers and a new privately-owned cultural precinct at Mariner's Cove on Australia's Gold Coast. Commissioned by Sunland Group, the $600 million mixed-use project will include two 44-story residential towers, ground floor retail, a 69-suite boutique hotel and underground aquarium, along with an art gallery, museum and outdoor sculptural gardens.

17 Napkin Sketches by Famous Architects

The napkin sketch has always had its place in architecture. Now, some of the world's more respected architects have donated their very own conceptual doodles to the NewSchool and San Diego American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS) in an effort that helped raise thousands to fund scholarships and programs for architecture students. 

"The event was a big success,” said David Garcia, a NewSchool architecture undergraduate and fundraising chair for the AIAS event. “Personally, this project means a lot to me, and not just because of the time and involvement, but because this is a nice way to bring students and their favorite architects together, even if it's just through a sketch. Plus, since it's a fundraiser, the proceeds have been a great help to the success of the chapter.”

Take a look at all 17 napkin sketches from Bjarke Ingels, Wolf Prix, Thom Mayne, Robert Venturi, Zaha Hadid and others, after the break. 

Zaha Hadid. Image Courtesy of NewSchool and AIAS San Diego Thom Mayne. Image Courtesy of NewSchool and AIAS San Diego Kurt Hunker. Image Courtesy of NewSchool and AIAS San Diego Massimiliano Fuksas. Image Courtesy of NewSchool and AIAS San Diego

7 Leading Architects Defend the World's Most Hated Buildings

From Paris' most abhorred tower to New York's controversial government center, seven renowned architects have stepped up in defense of the world's most hated buildings in a newly published article on T Magazine. As told to Alexandra Lange, the article presents direct quotes from Zaha Hadid, Daniel Libeskind, Norman Foster and four others regarding controversial architecture whose importance goes beyond aesthetics.

See what hated building Norman Foster believes to be a "heroic" structure, after the break. 

/ Zaha Hadid Architects

Zaha Hadid has collaborated with the Hamburg-based shipbuilders Blohm+Voss to design a new concept for a family of superyachts: a 128-meter master prototype that will  eventually spawn five, fully-engineered, 90-meter “Unique Circle Yachts.” According to Hadid, the overall design is informed by “fluid dynamics and underwater ecosystems, with hydrodynamic research shaping the design of the hull.”

More from the architect, after the break. 

Zaha Hadid Unveils Community-Oriented Housing Project In Monterrey

Zaha Hadid Architects have unveiled their first project in Mexico, a residential development in Monterrey. The country's third-largest city, Monterrey is a rapidly growing and increasingly important manufacturing and technology center. The project, named "Esfera City Center," is located to the southeast of Monterrey in the Huajuco Canyon, where it will provide crucial homes in a rapidly expanding part of the city.

Consisting of 981 units from single-person lofts to four-bedroom apartments totaling 137,000 square meters, the design rejects the original brief from the client which called for 12 residential towers, instead opting for a series of long, low-rise blocks which surround a public park, bringing a community focus to the design.

More images and information about the Esfera City Center project after the break.

Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects Courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

The 17 Top Architect-Designed Products at Milan Design Week 2015

The 54th edition of Milan Design Week (also known as Salone del Mobile) recently came to a close. In celebration of its success, we have compiled a list of the most talked about architect-designed products showcased this year. Take a look after the break to see new products from Rem Koolhaas, Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield, and more. 

Soft / Nendo. Image Courtesy of Nendo Blur / Ron Arad. Image © Moroso via Dezeen Langley / David Chipperfield. Image © e15 Open / Rem Koolhaas. Image © Olivari via Domus

Zaha Hadid's 3D Printed Flame Heels Among 5 Designs to Re-Invent the Shoe

FLAMES / Zaha Hadid. Image © United Nude
FLAMES / Zaha Hadid. Image © United Nude

Zaha Hadid, Fernando Romero, and Ben Van Berkel are making headlines alongside two renowned artists for their 3D printed reinventions of the high heel. A collaborative vision spearheaded by United Nude and 3D Systems, the highly anticipated project was unveiled yesterday at the "Re-Inventing Shoes" exhibition at Milan Design Week.

Each sculptural heel was 3D printed using SelectiveLaser Sintering in a hard Nylon and all-new soft Rubber material, making a "fully functioning" shoe. Only up to 50 pairs of each will be sold. See them all, after the break.