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Kengo Kuma says strict requirements for Tokyo stadium mean some similarities are inevitable but says his is ‘absolutely a different building’
The architect behind Tokyo’s new Olympic stadium has denied that he borrowed parts of the design submitted by Zaha Hadid, the British-Iraqi designer whose original stadium design was scrapped last year to cut costs for the 2021 Games.
Kengo Kuma denied claims by Hadid’s office that the new design bore striking similarities to the original.
This week the London-based Hadid complained that the Japan Sports Council was withholding payment for her work and demanding that she waive any copyright claims.
“In the design, I would like to say there are no similarities at all,” Kuma told reporters when asked about Hadid’s claims.
Kuma said both architects had to meet strict requirements for the 80,000-seat stadium, which will be built on the site of the now-demolished national stadium used when Tokyo last hosted the summer Games, in 1964.
“The conditions set for the competition mean that automatically some similarities emerge,” he said, adding that “the concept is completely different, so it is absolutely a different building, despite the similarities”.
Hadid’s office said it had turned down a request by the sports council to hand over copyright of her design in exchange for payment for the work she had submitted. […]