Timber Use for New National Stadium Japan. What We Learn from London, then What We Tell to the World Beyond It?(2016/1/16)

On 22 Dec 2015, A Plan was chosen for the New National Stadium, which will be the main venue for 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. A Plan was proposed by a joint corporation of Taisei Corporation, Azusa Design and Kengo Kuma and Associates, and it has a core concept as "Stadium of trees and green".

New National Stadium Development Project -result of selection of the priority negotiating candidates.

(Timber in the "Stadium of trees and green")

As its technical proposal of the project caring Japaneseness described- "(proposal design) will show the revived Japanese traditional wooden structures by the modern technology to the world", the main feature of the design of "Stadium of trees and green" is large roof of the upper part of the auditorium is a mixed structure of rebar and laminated wood, and lower part is designed to envelop the audiences with laminated cedar and larch. (Summary of the Facility Planning 1/3)

"Development Plan of the New National Stadium" (28 Aug 2015) the 4th Ministerial meeting for the New National Stadium Development Plan Review
Issues and selection methods for requesting technical proposals (Selection Committee of technical proposals for the New National Stadium Development Project)

New National Stadium will be "the large-scale wooden construction"! But it is originally specified as extra elements to be considered in Issues and selection methods for requesting technical proposals (Selection Committee of technical proposals for the New National Stadium Development Project) that "Planning in consideration of the Japaneseness (the use of wood based on Japanese climate, culture and tradition)". Background of such specification came from the Act for Promotion of Use of Wood in Public Building. In addition, during the public offering process, there were other supporting initiatives such as "Recommendation for the Wooden Roof Frame" in the New National Stadium by Japan Architects Association Federation (Aug 2015) and Working Team on the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in the government (Oct 2015).

(Learn from the legacy of the London Olympic and Paralympic)

Certified wooden material has promoted for timber procurement of Olympic facilities. London Olympics 2012 is said to use 95-100% of certified timber of total wood consumption. Especially it was pulled attention that 2 major international forest certification schemes worked jointly for supporting procurement.

Olympic Sustainable Supply Chain(FSC Japan National Office)
Learneng Legacy-Lessons learned from the London 2012 Games construction project. Dr Ed Suttie Director of Timber, BRE (English)

London Games posed a number of challenges. "Timber would be used extensively across the site, in many different forms, from the Siberian pine used to make the Velodrome track to the Latin American red louro faced roof cladding panels. Any failure to procure timber from sustainable sources had the potential to pose a significant risk to the reputation." From Learning Legacy

There is no doubt that it is one of the challenges how to take over this movement toward Tokyo.

Forestry Agency encourages the forest certification
Unknown anxiety of the New National Stadium. Whether the timber on the design plan can be procured?

(What to communicate beyond the London?)

I am slightly worrying because of the concept of New National Stadium for the Tokyo Olympic is "Japanese hospitality by domestic timber". Important message to deliver from the stadium should be "Let’s do like this" (core message of London Games), but not "Only Japan can do like this (There’s no other, so please come back again)". It’s all about what to do.

One of actions is to provide information on sustainable management of timber as above mentioned, but other than that, I think there is two more information to state which could not be done in London.

(Domestic timber as local wood)

One of the important points that could not be done in London but tries in Tokyo is the domestic wood use in the National Stadium. However, we cannot just state "Because we do it in Japan, we build with Japanese wood". The important thing to emphasize is communicating that use of domestic wood means, not just in the sense like it comes from inside or outside of the border, but use of local wood which is sourced within short distance from the construction site, the clear harvest origin and environment friendly.

In Japan, there were a variety of harvest origin verification systems, which had been proposed such as Domestic Timber Mark, Prefectural Timber Certification System, Forest-products Identification Promotion Council, Woodmiles Forum and so forth. For the New National Stadium, if we can make the scheme to claim the origin of wood materials per prefecture and species (E.g., this parts are larch from Hokkaido, that parts are those from Shinshu, there Kyushu cedar, here Tohoku cedar, Fukushima cedar etc), then we can deliver the meaning of wood use of the stadium to the world. Also, when the stadium will be used after the Olympics game, it can expand more potential to cooperate with the prefectures which provided those materials.

the latest version of the US Green Building Standards). Based on it, I think from the global environment point of view, my suggestion is the New National Stadium communicates well as the construction made from local wood.

(Realize the Wood First Society by everyone)

In addition, the other suggestion is about a concept of "Wood First" which is prioritizing the use of wood than any other materials (Declaration of action toward the realization toward "Wood First society")

Vancouver Winter Games had this concept, but unfortunately for the London Games, it was all about "certified timber if we use wood."

In the Tokyo Games, I expect that the messages about importance and methods of wood use in the recyclable society for buildings will be well delivered all around the world, including the role of Act of the wood use in public buildings, the amount of carbon dioxide fixed in the wood, environmental evaluation of use of local materials, traceability system, technological development of wood use for large-scale buildings. the role of the wood utilization Promotion Act of public buildings, which is fixed to the timber, environmental evaluation of using local materials, traceability of the system, in technological development of wood utilization, etc., and the importance that it will soak in building the timber is a protagonist of the forthcoming circulation society, that means is, we expect to be firm outgoing.