Architect Kengo Kuma proposes a wooden, green structure resembling a traditional Japanese temple as the design for the Olympics stadium in line with the Games’ sustainability theme.

Text by Isabelle Pinto

Design Works and Construction Works of Taisei Corporation,
Azusa Sekkei Co., Ltd. and Kengo Kuma and Associates JV

The Japanese have always been known for their humility and courtesy – values that are deeply ingrained in their Eastern culture. From their various forms of politeness practiced in speech along with various types of bowing, they are indeed known to be some of the humblest societies on Earth. This probably explains the designs of the upcoming Tokyo National Stadium that is currently being built for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

The stadium’s latticed, oval facade with an opening in the middle of its roof encased with transparent glass projects a rather simple design – a stark reflection of the Japanese’ simplicity and humility – and yet the design is admirable for the fact that it emphasises on sustainability, a theme that is to be incorporated in all aspects of the highly-anticipated games. Material-wise, the stadium is made up of mostly wood and steel and is designed to resemble traditional Japanese temples.

The use of wood in architecture is said to be more sustainable compared to concrete and steel, and is, as of late, a growing trend for many new high-rises around Europe. Famed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma who proposed the design is indeed no stranger when it comes to using natural materials in architecture and therefore, seems to be the right candidate to take on this green-themed stadium design. According to him, using wood does not only promote sustainability; it would also provide a sense of warmth, ease and comfort amongst occupants within the building.

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