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Kengo Kuma, designer of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics stadium, says modern engineering had led to a retreat to natural materials
He’s used to courting accolades, but Kengo Kuma also knows how to court international controversy.
When the Japanese government commissioned Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid to design the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics stadium, award-winning architect Kuma leant his influential voice to the chorus criticizing the decision to not employ a homegrown talent.
The government was listening.
When Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe scrapped last year Hadid’s design, Kuma’s alternate vision was chosen as the replacement.
Kuma is acutely aware of the responsibility that comes with designing an Olympic host’s national stadium.
“I’m designing the building for ten years’ (time), I’m not designing it for today,” he tells CNN, of the wooden-latticed building that will take the global stage in 2020.
“The most important thing for the designer is thinking about the future.”
It’s a philosophy that underpins Kuma’s thoughtful body of work. […]