It’s still seven years from now, but anticipation is already high for the infrastructural changes that Tokyo will be making in preparation for the2020 Olympics. Probably the one that most will look forward to is the space-age state-of-the-art future national stadium, to be created by London-based firm Zaha Hadid Architects.

The British Hadid’s firm beat 45 other companies for the rights to build the 130 billion yen (approx. $1.3 billion) which will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The judges chose the design not just because of its retractable roof and 80,000-seating capacity, but even more so for its sleek, elongated shape with flowing lines that will be covered by translucent membranes. Tadao Ando, the chair of the selection panel, said last November 2012 when they awarded the project to Hadid, that the stadium will become an iconic addition to the city’s skyline and will become a “shrine” for the next 100 years. “The entry’s dynamic and futuristic design embodies the messages Japan would like to convey to the rest of the world,” he said.

The current national stadium was built in 1958 to become the main venue of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, but it has aged badly over the past decades. The new stadium is expected to be finished by 2018, in time to be the main venue for when Japan hosts the2019 Rugby World Cup. Hadid, who was awarded Japan’s Premium Imperiale in 2009 for her contributions to architecture, said that their winning design was based on “three decades of research into Japanese architecture and urbanism”. She said that they also kept in mind that this stadium will not just be for the Olympics, but will be an “integral part of Tokyo’s urban fabric”. Hadid also designed the much-lauded Aquatics Centre for the London Olympic Games in 2012.

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