Would you let a bird like that free to fly over your town? Yoyogi National Gymnasium


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Generally speaking for an Italian seeing something built 50years ago it’s quite different than for a Japanese. We are used to walk in our cities side by side with buildings which are 400years old, often 500 hundreds sometimes 800 years old and more and this happens in every town of Italy not only in the famous ones.

This to point out that the works Tange did here in Yoyogi are “only” 50 years old to me and they aren’t in bad shape but something, despite their fame, is not working well. Let’s say that “dimensions count” one may say and for instance between those two “big birds”, in my opinion the little one (Small Olympic Arena) is better conceived than the big one (Yoyogi National Gymnasium/Olympic Arena). The Olympic Arena is described everywhere and you can find many books about it. Since I have been also in Germany at the Munich Olympic Park, I found this Tange’s work “heavy” like a chicken raised in a industrial battery who is not allowed to fly whereas the Munich Olympic Arena is the opposite, it inspires freedom. By the way this is the first site they choosed for Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964 not the Komazawa I already wrote about in my previous post.

One may think the heavyness is due of the reinforced concrete, because in Munich they use mostly steel painted in white and glass but I bet it is in the proportions because the Small Olympic Arena is less heavy and I can certainly see it flying away. I would rather be bold in the following guess I think for reaching a better proportion the roof of the Olympic main Arena has to have a higher maximum height to balance the thickness of its wings.

Although this is a surfing observation for a a web, the Arena is considered an international “Beauty” maybe the first of a series of stadium that lead Us until today.

This link is full of informations and structural details. It says that when was completed, the National Gymnasium had the world’s largest suspended roof.

A japanese architect told me it had several problems for the rain because of the inappropriate inclination of that big roof.

Here below you can have a look through my pictures and please consider the details of the Small Olympic Arena. I have entered also to the main arena when the “Iced” show was just finished and you can have a feeling of how beautiful it must have been.

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