John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The famed architect's vision for Tokyo's New National Stadium is gorgeous and a little intimidating.
Did a UFO abduct Zaha Hadid? Because her vision for this Tokyo stadium looks like a xenomorphic dreadnaught flown in from Nebulon 7.
Perhaps due to their interest in horrible tentacles and ultra-strange monsters, the Japanese absolutely loved the out-of-this-world structure. Today, the Japan Sport Council announced that it was choosing Zaha Hadid Architects to execute a radical makeover of the National Stadium, originally built to house the 1964 Summer Olympics. Hadid's firm won out in an international competition against 10 other finalists, and now must prepare this magnificent but slightly fear-breeding stadium in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and – if Japan gets lucky with its bid – the 2020 Olympic Games.
The Sport Council praised Hadid's proposed venue for its "innovative and fluid design that expresses a sense of dynamism appropriate for sporting activities." The judges were also smitten by the roof that slides back for open-air concerts, a towering arch that they said would "challenge" the country's engineers, and environmentally friendly elements like greywater use, geothermal heat and a rainwater cooling system. The biggest selling point, though, was a bevy of mega-thrusters located below the turf that will allow the stadium to soar through the exosphere with all 80,000 fans still inside, bound for a brave new world. To space, and beyond!
Here are renderings of the sleek megalith soon landing in Tokyo:
Renderings by Zaha Hadid Architects.