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  • [Miyagi] Miyagi Stadium, Rifu - Hitoshi Abe

    Biography (source)

    Hitoshi Abe was born in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan 1962. He studied architecture at the Tohoku University in Sendai. In 1989 after obtaining his master’s degree at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, in Los Angeles, USA, he worked in the viennese architecture practice Coop Himmelb(l)au in their studio in Los Angeles until 1992. When, in 1992, he obtained his PhD in architecture at Tohoku University, the same year he set up the Atelier Hitoshi Abe in Sendai.

    Abe is among the most important architects of the current Japanese generation. He is known for his work that is spatially complex and structurally innovative. Among his best-known public works are the Miyagi Stadium(2000) and the Reihoku community hall, for which he received the 2003 architectural institute of Japan award. He heads the architectural design laboratory at Tohoku University and is involved in establishing an international network of architectural training, offering workshops and exchange programmes with foreign universities.


    The Miyagi Stadium in Rifu was won in competition by Hitoshi Abe in 1992 (while he was a doctoral student accoridng to his bio). Completed in 2000 in (more than enough) time for the world cup in 2002. It hosted 3 world cup games:
    Mexico 2–1 Ecuador June 9th 2002
    Sweden 1–1 Argentina June 12th 2002
    Japan 0–1 Turkey June 18th 2002

    location map also showing the Kanno Museum of Art which is close by. Scaleable map in Japanese but easy.
    Architectural Record
    Atelier Hitoshi Abe
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  • #2
    From an article in Design Boom:

    The surreal quality is present in most of your buildings, and especially evident in the miyagi stadium in sendai. could you summerize in a few words the design concept?
    We wanted to express the openness of the universe. What we tried here was loosening the stadium-building-type, which has remained essentially unchanged since the Romans. We thought we could loosen this rigidity by superimposing The opposite kind of type. We simply reversed the stadium, and it became a hill. What are the visitors seeing, a hill or a stadium? A landscape or an architecture? We also didnít want to maintain the circle shape of all stadium plans, usually regarded as strictly necessary for good viewing. It is boring and it creates a strong sense of enclosure. In our project the circle became a swirl. Also, we kept the roof size minimum, just covered the seats, which are of blue colour, fading gradually from dark blue to white to reflect the sky above.
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    • #3
      And his latest comments from his website about how the building has changed...

      The stadium now has an institutional image completely opposite to its original character. In this project for an architectural typology with an essentially closed character, the aim was to propose an open place without losing any functionality. The Miyagi Stadium fuses the contrasting topological conditions of the concave landscape of the stadium and the convex landscape of the mountains on the eastern side of the site. In this way, we intended to create a place that combines the dualities of open and closed, unified and dispersed, architecture and landscape.
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      • #4
        It is a wonderful stadium that integrate sinto the landscape in quite amazing ways.
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        • #5
          sadly not many of the pictures that Abe has on his own website show this landscape integration, what is great about the stadium.
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          • #6
            I will post my own images in a couple of days.
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            • #7
              In terms of the function however the Miyagi Stadium is a white elephant. It has no function except an occasional sports meeting. The whole thing is open and every day for its gym! It has a great kids jungle gym type thing and I take my kids to play sometimes.

              This owuld be amazing in any other country but is normal in Japan. One day I will write an essay on the huge municipal buildings that get built in tiny villages here, a result of what Alex Kerr calls the "Construction State".

              Most of the other stadiums built for the 2002 world cup were tied into the professional league of football teams, but the local Sendai team play at another also new stadium in Izumi, so this Miyagi Satdium has no permanent tenants - the costs must be huge.

              It is also difficult to access other than by car. When it was built it was in virgin forrest surrounded by rice fields. Now there is a new town - the fastest growing in Tohoku - which is springing up nearby but still it is difficult to get to. The nearest train station is a 40minute walk. So if you visit take a taxi from Rifu Station
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              • #8
                Abe is known for his innovative structures and I think this project is a good example.
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                • #9
                  interior
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                  • #10
                    another interior
                    details and my own pictures to follow
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                    • #11
                      wow.. these japanese always amaze me... would love to visit it sometime....

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                      • #12
                        MMMMMM-indoor track!!! The stuff of wet dreams for an Irish sprinter!

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                        • #13
                          some context from the book Hitoshi Abe Flicker

                          By the way this kind of toy-town-suburbia categorises much of Japan's modern housing output.
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                          Last edited by gorgon; 28-02-2007, 04:35.

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                          • #14
                            concept
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                            • #15
                              the elipitical plan roof that abe is talking about
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