Old grandiosity has to make way for the new one
Planning has been going full speed in Tōkyō, not just since it was decided to have the city host the Olympic summer games 2020 and the Paralympics. As already mentioned in conjunction with an example of government housing, it has been decided that the old stadium of the 1964-Olympics has to make place for a new site.
Everyone who has experienced the old stadium that was built for the third Asian Games in 1958 and that was the central stadium for the summer Olympics of 1964 at that time, may feel a sense of grief over the forthcoming demolition – just as much as those who have seen grand sports- and concert events here. But before the wrecker’s ball won’t be put to work, before a thorough “sayonara” for the old stadium. There will be, just as an example, “sayonara concerts” by very popular pop groups – “L’Arc~en~Ciel” will have their stage here on the second-last weekend of March 2014 and “AKB48” will be here on the last weekend of March 2014
And what they can do, I can do just as well! Well, it wasn’t a concert, but accidentally I was able to take a few pictures of the old stadium, without going through the trouble of watching a sports event or a pop concert. Hence, I’m able to make my little contribution towards a digital conservation the “old lady of the 1964-Olympics”.
Click on one of the pictures to start a slide show.
Some details related to the building of the National Stadium (Kokuritsu Kyōgijō / 国立競技場 / こくりつきょうぎじょう):
- As mentioned above, it was built for the third Asian Games in 1958 and replaced its predecessor, the “Meiji Shrine Gaien Stadium” (built 1919 to 1924). It was designed to evoke “strength”, “simplicity” and “grace”. And at that point of time it surely conveyed these aspects quite well (despite the fact that, after 56 years, the building may look a bit dull – but tastes and standards have changed as well during the course of half a century). Nevertheless, even in recent years there was considerable investment made to maintain the complex – new seats were installed (have a look at the small “historic” selection of pictures below), after the great earthquake of 2011 the floodlighting installation was re-inforced and received a fresh white colour coating.
- The plot covers a land area of 71,707 sqm (the building area itself covers 33,716 sqm).
- The turf area of the stadium’s green is maintained all year round with tifton grass in summer and perennail ryegrass in winter and covers an area of 107 x 71 metres.
- The five-story steel re-enforced concrete building offers a capacity for 54,224 people.
Click on one of the pictures to start a slide show.
It can be presumed that the old commemorative plaques of the summer Olympics of 1964 are going to be preserved when the new stadium for the summer Olympics and Paralympics 2020 will be built. But for all those who think that they are too good to last, I took the liberty of digitally saving them (almost) completely.
At this point my original posting contained a link that showed details of what was initially planned to be built for the 2020 Olymics (these plans were scrapped in summer 2015 – just a few days after the old stadium had been demolished) – unfortunately, the content of this link is no longer available.
But here is a PDF that documents how the stadium should have looked like, had it been built according to the original plans:
In December 2015 two new architectural designs had been selected for the 2020 Olympics – decision still pending as of day of writing (17 December 2015). Here are two links two both new designs (rather large files in Japanese):
…. and as reported in the Japan Times on December 22, the actual winner of the competition is “Design “A” by Kengo Kuma.
And if a two-dimensional representation of the old stadium doesn’t do it for you, here you’ll find a paper model you can built yourself:
And just to show that also the interior of the old national stadium wasn’t that outdated, here some pictures of the ground floor of it:
A chronology of a destruction:
Towards the end of 2014 something that seems to be inevitable was put into action: The destruction of the old olympic stadium. One of the visible starting points was 23 November 2014 when suddenly the commemorative plaques of the 1964 Olympics were suddenly gone. The picture below somehow documents the beginning of the end…
As a next step that was there for all to see in January 2015 it was begun to built a fence/wall around the whole stadium (click on one of the miniatures to enlarge):
And once this “hull” was completed (deemed to buffer the noise coming from the deconstrution work), end of February/early March 2015 the final distruction of the old stadium started. At least some shy views through the fence I could capture:
Just a few days later the destruction had advance considerably. Have a look at the videos taken on 28 and 30 March 2015:
And if you don’t care for moving pictures, have a look at the following pictures, also taken on 28 and 30 March 2015 (click to enlarge to slide show):
An already on 10 May 2015 nothing much was left of the former glory:
How to get there:
Take the JR Chūō line/Sōbu line (JR中央線/総武線 / JRちゅうほうせん/そうぶせん) to Sendagaya (千駄ヶ谷 / せんだがや) and walk from there for about five minute in eastern direction, or to Shinanomachi (信濃町 / しなのまち) respectively – and walk from there for about five minutes in western direction.
Or take the Tōkyō Subway Ōedo line (東京地下鉄大江戸線 / とうきょうちかてつおおでおせん) to Kokuritsu Kyōgijō (国立競技場 / こくりつきゅうぎじょう) with a direct access to the north entrance of the stadium.
Also have a look at:
Alea iacta est – Tōkyō Olympics 2020
– From the great void to the big lesson…
Tōkyō Olympics 2020 vs. Kasumigaoka Apartments
– And the winner is….?
And since you’ve always wanted to tell me your opinion…