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  • After almost seven years of preparation, Tokyo is about to light the torch for the 2020 Olympic Games.

  • The city's first hosting of the event in 1964 was described as “a turning point for Japan"

  • that set “a dazzlingly high bar” – so now that the 2020 Games are almost upon us,

  • what has Tokyo done to ensure it reacheslet alone surpassesits own sky-high

  • standards set more than half a century ago?

  • From striking aquatic centres and billion-dollar timber stadiumsthis is how Japan's capital

  • has transformed itself ahead of the greatest sporting event on Earth.

  • In the 1960s, when Tokyo became the first Asian city to host the Games, it stunned many

  • by pulling off a total transformation less than two decades after the end of the Second World War

  • a feat which would go on to help drive the country's rapid economic growth in the mid-20th century.

  • Some estimates suggest that Japan spent the equivalent of its entire national budget on

  • the building programme for the 1964 Gamesand the country used the event as a platform

  • to showcase innovations to a global audience, including the revolutionary Shinkansen bullet train.

  • Technology and construction play a key role again in 2020, with sustainability and environmental

  • consciousness as central themes of these Games.

  • The Athletes' Village has been built on an artificial island where residences are

  • powered by hydrogen energy and buses will run on fuel cells to transport athletes across the site.

  • Self-generating energy sources will be in use at 37 of the 38 venues, including solar

  • power systems and geothermal heating and cooling technology.

  • As well as taking the unusual step of reusing several legacy buildings,

  • eight state-of-the-art new venues have been built from scratch.

  • Built on exactly the same footprint as the original 1964 flagship venue,

  • Tokyo's new 68,000-seat National Stadium will be the setting for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies,

  • as well as athletics events and football matches.

  • At a cost of USD $1.4 billion, the stadium was designed by Kengo Kuma, best known for

  • his use of natural materials, and was inspired by Japanese architecture and the environment.

  • The oval building provides seats across three tiers and blends steel with layers of

  • latticed wood gathered from all 47 of Japan's prefectures.

  • But the project has faced criticism from several organisations

  • who question the stadium's sustainable design.

  • Among the accusations are claims that tropical plywood from Indonesia and Malaysia were used

  • during construction, damaging the rainforests.

  • Before any of the controversy on this structure, the previous design proposal also ran into difficulties.

  • Zaha Hadid Architects originally designed the venue and had its proposals accepted

  • but the scheme was scrapped by the Japanese government in 2015 over rising costs.

  • Taking three years to build, Kuma's stadium was completed in November 2019,

  • eight months ahead of the Games.

  • The four-storey Tokyo Aquatics Centre is another new build highlight.

  • Its 7,000-tonne, ten-metre-thick roof was constructed before the rest of the structure

  • was developed around it, improving worker safety while saving time and money.

  • The roof, supported by four core pillars, was raised to a height of 37 metres in three stages.

  • The main 50-metre pool is equipped with a movable wall, allowing it to be converted

  • into two 25-metre pools if required, while the depth is also adjustable.

  • One of the last venues to complete before the tournament begins, the centre cost more

  • than half a billion US dollars but is set to see plenty of use after the Olympics, with

  • more than a million visitors expected to swim in it each year.

  • Timber architecture features prominently at the 2020 Games, and the new Ariake Gymnastics Centre

  • built on a site previously used for timber storageis one of the leading examples.

  • Intended as a showpiece to Japanese craftsmanship, the venue has a 120-metre-long arched timber roof

  • the largest of its kind in the world – along with slanted walls influenced by the

  • 'engawa' verandas found in traditional Japanese homes.

  • The roof beams and seating are also made of timberwhile the lack of steel framework

  • creates a large open space in the centre with uninterrupted views for spectators.

  • Perhaps the most iconic building still in operation from the first Games,

  • the Yoyogi National Stadium was originally constructed to host aquatic and basketball competitions in 1964.

  • In 2020, it will be used for handball.

  • The venue is famous for its unique suspension roof and distinctive architecture.

  • Its main structure takes the form of two sweeping curves that flow out from central supports like drapes.

  • Designed by renowned modernist architect Kenzo Tange,

  • the stadium offers a combination of contemporary western aesthetics and traditional Japanese styling

  • found in the country's temples and shrines.

  • For Tokyo 2020, Yoyogi has been refurbished to enhance its earthquake resistance and improve

  • access for the 10,000-plus spectators that are expected.

  • Another legacy venue from 1964, the Nippon Budokan is the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts.

  • The building has also become an iconic music venue

  • the setting for memorable gigs from the likes of Bob Dylan and The Beatles.

  • The Budokan is where judo made its debut at the Olympics. It will host the sport again in 2020

  • and is set to be the launchpad for another new Olympic eventkarate.

  • Its roof is shaped to resemble Mount Fuji, while its octagonal perimeter is based on

  • the Yumedono Hall of the Horyuji Buddhist Templethe oldest wooden building in the world.

  • Excitement around the Tokyo 2020 Games is now seriously beginning to build.

  • Venues have been completed well in advance, early ticket sales have been strong and a budget

  • that at one point looked like it might spin out of control has been kept

  • under USD $10 billion. For context, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing cost USD $40 billion.

  • Despite concerns about green credentials, there is optimism overall that Tokyo 2020 will be successful

  • the world's greatest sporting event

  • enabled in part by some of the world's greatest architecture and construction.

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After almost seven years of preparation, Tokyo is about to light the torch for the 2020 Olympic Games.

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The Venues of Tokyo 2020 | The B1M

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    Sophie posted on 2020/05/14
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