Wood? where is it?…new Olympic stadium ongoing construction

Coming back to Japan and wanted to swim on along distance I went to the Tokyo Gymnasium who host a fantastic, open to all, 50 metre long swimming pool, clean and perfect as you may expect. (it is Sendagaya station for those interested)

Unfortunately the second time, was on Tuesday, and not checking the days off, I found it there. Strolling around the Gymnasium a creepy view was in the horizon, just behind the beautiful dome of the pool (designed by F.Maki by the way).

Olympic Stadium

Olympic Stadium 2017

if you recall the second competition, won by K.Kuma associated with Taisei Corporation and if I recall well Azuma architects, you may remember nice images full of wood an green. That is decoration, design intent. What is the core of the stadium you are seeing this picture: steel and concrete, and what else would might be?


Finding that architect Maki designed the Gymnasium to me it is a reason more to understand why he was chief leader against the original winner project for the new Olympic stadium since your design would be outlaw by the new wave. The funny thing abou that is that always those who were at the beginning of their career the most unbiased it turn out to be the most conservative as the times passes to become a caricature of their own lost value.


A link of some “fantastic” they lost to give some money to the Steel and Concrete Japanese construction base moloch companies.



History of Architecture in one man, over 90 years old

I discovered this interview with Yona Friedman, and he tell his story that has some links with the book of Arata Isozaki, a historical connection with the dutch Hertzenberger. and some affinities with contemporary postmodernism freedom. Overall is a good way to contextualize the few incipits . and why they were few, that Japanese centralized system had to carry on until 1965, and their future conquered adult architecture life.

A 37 minute interview, slow pace, with a difficult English accent, beside that it is really Amazing. I am sorry if you cannot get the relationship, it is not explicit, you have to know some of the History behind it to get it. It goes into the Japanese debate about National Architecture, their stubborness, the metabolistes. How Tange recognized his influences. This come almost last in the video interview below.



At the end one should explain why the Australian Mercutt got a Pritzker Prize and not this guy, just because he does not speak with a good English accent? Cheers.

Komazawa renovation by Azusa Architects Co.

Last week it was the last holiday week before going back to work and I took my son to Komazawa to make a bicycle ride together, I really like that open space, with that gym round!

With my surprise the adult rental was close, so only my son had fun with the children bicycle track. The reason for the closure of the rental was this:

Indoor Stadium

Indoor Ball game Stadium

The architects are the Azusa Co. LTD (株式会社 梓設計) , here their website.

Here there is a link (japanese) that describe in detail the project.

The previous situation was indeed a bit on the deteriorating side,

an old Master management plan for the whole park is reported in this( 25 pages pdf). It was evidently before Tokyo won the bid for 2020, not a mention about this renovation.

My previous post.

Wood for the Olympic stadium in Tokyo?

So the chosen options are two:

one is from Taisei corporation that follows the Kengo Kuma Design

the other one is from Toyo Ito concept backed by Obayashi, Takenaka and Shimizu corporation.

Here the link with a video with two pictures of proposal A(Kuma)  and B(Ito)

In another link you can compare the two pictures from above (the red roof is the Ito one)

I think it is a political wise strategy. First you won the competition to obtain the Omlypic in your conutry with a wonderful galactic project at the end of a pompous world wide open competition asking to design a dream….than when you have already won the right to organizethe competition you really budget everything. This time you ask for a sober project, eventually ending to a japanese firm – which are among the best of the world – and nobody is upset….but the fact that they have to go abroad to buy the wood…since on japanese land the wood industry is setting back because the Japanese Law about wood.

Would not it be hironic they say.

Lately I found a full,well written article about the whole story of the Zaha Haidi scrapping. I would encourage to click on it, it seems it is signed by a real journalist and not only a blogger.


The Rossini`s paradigm

This may seems off topic but is is relevant to some previous posts. A paradigm, is not a common word, let say that a paradigm is an example so clear and so well understood that could be used to measure other phenomenons. This wide definition of paradigm can be applied to history, science, arts and so on.

In this case I wish to explain why I associate paradigm to the person of Rossini. Rossini was a music composer, he lived in the 18th century, born in a small town in 1792  named Pesaro. His career was fast as a flash. I think most of you know about Mozart than of Rossini but really he is the one considered had made opera becoming the modern Opera.

He was only 14 when he composed his first opera.! The big contract with a theatre came ad the age of 23, in 1815. Wikipedia voice is fairly correct even if many of his operas went lost so I am not sure about the 39 cited there. If you think for a second that composing an opera is not as easy as writing a blog; even nowadays not every musician has the skills to write a whole opera, and he did it when he was a kid.

Until now it is just a list of things, dates and numbers.

In 1823 twelve of his operas were already represented in Paris, and when he moved there he was alredy a star…but, guys, he was just 29 years old, and the king wanted him to take over an historical theatre in Paris (the Theatre Italien), that precisely happened one year later, on 1824. And what do you think happened in Paris?

“A large sector of the press was against him, more for chauvinistc than for musical reason”(The Golden Century of Italian Opera, by William Weaver, Thames and Hudson Ltd, London, 1980)

It is known that his talent and his skills were two steps ahead to his musicians competitors, but had they recognized his greatness? What sort of advantage could have been taken from that? None. They had but negative points on their side thus they threw their jealousy, a human feeling, like stones toward him. Luckily with the audience on his side Rossini lived in the French capital quite a good life.

So here are two facts. Being the best, and coming from another country makes the Rossini career a sort of paradigm that can be applied to similar situations.

Was he a likeable and pleasent man or not, it does not make any difference for this purpose. I am sure most of you can gauge others stories as well in other countries , times and arts or sports…

Then you can add much more details to this story, for instance the huge difference at that time between Paris and Rome; the latter one was almost like a huge village in the early years of 19th century, the Pope was not particularly happy of the ideas of coming from the last revolutions.

[As you may not know, the Italian State was at the time, just an utopia, and when it was founded 50 years later, it was against the Pope, and against the religion…just to mention an hot topic that many Italians seems to forget these days…]

…could the Rosssini paradigm be applied to mrs Hadid, which happens to embody even a greater challenge than the one won by Rossini ?

three factors. Foreigner, best, and…woman.

Unfortunately  I made the association after having read an article on the english version of the yomiuri shimbun.

An article that if it was published on a western paper would be ridiculous, almost defamatory…and that reminds me the 1824, Paris….

I think the politicians have all the right to change decision in spite of whatever reason they need. Another story is letting some japanese architects to mount conclusion based on fallacious stereotypes: we all make fallacious decisions. Another one, just a step too further for western standards, to minimize with insults.

…I was forgotting a link to watch a Rossini`s Opera, the Guglielmo Tell at the ROF, in french with german subtitles.



no picture just fuss about Zaha Hadid Olympic Stadium project being dumped

Some of the comments about the decision of the Tokyo Decisional Committe to dump the iconic and costly project of mrs Hadid, that I posted here and here, just miss the mark. I think the decision is on the Abe`s wave and it could not been much clearer. Even if japanese architects have some good points in their criticism, they should respect the Committe decision, which was leaded by T.Ando…one of the mayor architects of our time. I speak by knowledge, by loving and hating the town of Tokyo everyday. Here 99,9 % of new projects do not take in any consideration the surroundings…why they should blame Hadid for that?

Take it for granted that is a political decision, the comments should be political. Architects tend to consider themselves more important than what they really are…

Also I found this bad article about the works of Hadid and Gehry plenty of preposterous (yes it has been long time I wanted to use this english word) criticism. Architecture and arts reflect their time…is it so difficult to understand it?

Politically : really would you blame a Prime Minister who is struggling to restore a positive economic outlook to his country? And it seems he has found, on the ground of few economists when all the wall streeters were tagging him as insane, and his strategy as a losing strategy? And if his strategy entails an unconfessed negative bias for foreigners…?

…comment accepted, you are welcome.

My unmovable point is that the project is plenty of nice features even after the sized down and they are losing an Architectural opportunity, on the other side a new project, maybe is already there but they cannot say it…

Typically everybody would love to own and drive a Ferrari, but do you think are you entitled to it if your wallet let`s you buy just a wolkswagen? It looks what is happened there…

I add the architectural deepen link, just discovered by an insider in the Japan World. This is really a well documented assembly gathered in those days (October)