With his design of the stadium, Kuma wants to express a new image of post-industrial Japan. “The style is very contemporary. The attitude is not the same as a nostalgic traditional building,” he says.
The design stems from his philosophy of making buildings part of the natural landscape. This is a sharp contrast to the concrete-and-steel legacy of Kenzo Tange’s Yoyogi National Gymnasium, built for the 1964 Summer Olympics. Today, Kuma’s vision of Japan is a softer one.
The design stems from his philosophy of making buildings part of the natural landscape.
“After the Great (Bamboo) Wall, we had a lot of overseas projects. I began to think that ‘Japanese-ness’ is very ambiguous. Even inside Japan we have different cultures, different climates,” he says.
“My philosophy is to work with the [local] place, not the country. ‘Japanese-ness’ is more related to the detail; the perfection of the details.”
He adds that sustainability is now the most important theme for his practice. “Chinese clients are very much focused on sustainability. It’s sometimes more important in China than in Japan. China is very sensitive to preservation.”