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Japan Gets Peek at New Proposed Olympic Stadium Designs

Japan Sport Council Administration officer Takakuni Ikeda shows a proposal brochure by one of two groups competing to build the new Tokyo Olympic stadium during a news conference in Tokyo, Dec. 14, 2015.

Two groups competing for the lucrative contract to build the new stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have disclosed their design proposals.

The Japan Sports Council released the designs on Monday and said the winner will be chosen this month. It did not identify which companies have proposed which designs.

The two designs are more understated than the original plan by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, which was scrapped due to controversy over its cost and scale.

“We will work to ensure a stadium that will be loved by all,” Kazumi Daito, president of the Sports Council, said in announcing the plans, which he said would put “athletes first” and also emphasize accessibility for the disabled, elderly and children.

Work on the 158 billion yen ($1.3 billion) stadium intended to accommodate up to 80,000 people was delayed by the difficulties over its design, which proved a major embarrassment for local Olympics organizers.

Design “A” has a relatively flat roof and fits in with surrounding greenery, with shrubbery along its outer concourses. The combined steel and wood structure seems to echo traditional temple designs, and stands only 50 meters (164 feet) tall, with a center sports ground sunk below the surface.

Its construction cost is listed at a total of 153 billion yen ($1.26 billion).

The 54.3-meter-tall (178 feet) Design “B” is more ethereal, with outer glass walls that blend with the sky and are meant to reflect the traditional Asian concepts of the Five Elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. It would cost 153.7 billion yen ($1.26 billion).

Both plans call for construction to be done, apart from landscaping and surrounding work, by November 30, 2019.

The stadium will replace the razed National Stadium, which was built in the late 1950s and hosted the 1964 Olympics.