National Stadium Japan competition entry, Tokyo

We have approached the design of the overall site around the concept of the “Stadium in the Park”, where the stadium is placed within a continuous green landscape that mediates between different levels of the site with its various slopes and berms and two landbridges that cross over the Tokyo Metropolitan Road No. 418, and over Ward Route 43-690 to the south. The landscape surrounding the stadium  is structured by the lines of flow of crowds between the different entry points to the site and 8 ticketing points around the stadium. The system of sloped routes designed to meet crowd flow produce leaf shaped berms throughout the park topography. These are utilized to host outdoor amphitheatres for crowds to watch the games on outdoor screens or other smaller performances. They are also used to house the ticket offices, storage for park event equipment, bike sheds as well as food kiosks throughout the park.

The stadium’s programmable space is organised on three above ground levels and two levels below ground. Public entry is designed at the podium and middle concourse level via landscaped berms that sit against the stadium perimeter and house the major concessions and public functions, such as the toilets on the podium level. The sub-grade levels are aligned with the public car park that wraps the stadium to the north, and the facilities management and sports and maintenance to the south, accessed via the submerged road route 43-690. The sub-grade level also contains the drop-off for players, media and VIP’s from the western submerged road Route no 418 between the stadium and gymnasium sites. Accommodations for media setup team functions, such as lockers and training rooms and security functions are located along this western dropoff.

A stadium bowl helps to generate an exciting atmosphere when spectators can see and hear the action, have a sense of being part of a greater “whole”, feel safe and comfortable enough to express their involvement and enjoyment, and modern technology enhances the events as they unfold.
Placing spectators too far from the action means they cannot see and therefore disengage, which is why shared major rugby/football and athletics stadiums are rare. Modern rugby and football stadia have seating set close to touchlines, whilst athletics venue seating follows the arcs of the track, thereby generating longer maximum viewing distances. As the field of play for rugby and football is smaller than that for athletics, there is no fixed seating bowl design which suits both modes. Our concept would address this geometry issue by using a moveable field of play and moveable seating tiers and stands to bring spectators closer to the action, thereby requiring complex engineering solutions on a grand scale.

In our proposal, the bowl is configured in two tiers, and all spectators would have unobstructed views and excellent sightlines, with focal points designed for the athletics field of play as the worst case. All seating would be within maximum viewing distances defined by the European standard BS EN 13200 as 190m for rugby union and football and 230m for athletics. General admission seats would be provided to all stands, with open concourses, toilets and concessions located behind. Accessible viewing positions for wheelchair users would be provided at the back of the lower tier with super risers to maintain sightlines when spectators stand in front. Media seating would be in the West stand with differing tribune positions for each sport mode.

Beyond the use of sport the Japan National Stadium would function as a premium venue for large concerts in the heart of Tokyo. In concert mode, the stadium would be set up in a classic horseshoe configuration with central standing on the pitch to accommodate circa 70-80,000 concert goers. The South stand would be decommissioned and pushed back to create space for the temporary performance stage, and the back of house facilities would be used as secure changing and relaxation areas for performers and their entourage. The West and East stand lower tiers would be extended, the grass pitch would be protected by a proprietary temporary protection system, and the SW and SE corners and pitch perimeters kept open for concert vehicle access and spectator access to and egress from the field of play.


Architect - Farshid Moussavi Architecture

Sports Architect - KSS Group


Tokyo, Japan


The Japan Sports Council





Total area

80,000 seats