Architect Hadid plans new, less costly bid for Tokyo stadium

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TOKYO (AP) — Zaha Hadid Architects, the company whose stadium design for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was chosen and later scrapped, says it is teaming up with major Japanese design and engineering company Nikken Sekkei in a bid to regain the project.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced in July that the design by star Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid had been dropped as too costly, seeking to quiet an outcry over the futuristic, huge stadium blueprint.

The government has begun accepting new bids for the national stadium project, with a cost ceiling of 155 billion yen ($1.3 billion). Hadid's earlier project had been estimated to cost over 250 billion yen ($2 billion).

The two companies said Monday they would offer "the most cost-effective delivery plan" to ensure the stadium is ready in time for the 2020 Olympics.

Zaha Hadid Architects and Nikken Sekkei must still find a contractor able to commit to the lower cost and time constraints of the new specifications. The contractors that had worked with Zaha Hadid Architects on the earlier design are no longer involved.

Nikken Sekkei said it has worked with Hadid on the project since May 2013 and is "technically ready" to begin construction.

"We believe the best way to respond to the new brief is to maximize the use of the expertise gained by the design team over the past two years," it said.

The government and Tokyo Olympic organizers favored the original design as a potential new landmark for the city, but a huge and growing public debt led many to question the costs of such massive public works projects.

Shortages of construction workers and rising costs for materials are also potential problems for contractors who will have to rush to meet the International Olympic Committee's request that the stadium be ready by early 2020.


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