With the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo (Tokyo 2020) less than two years away, it was much relief to the organizers of the sporting event when the second section of the Olympic Gymnastics Center in Tokyo’s Ariake District was raised today. There will be five sections in total and the last of these is expected to be raised before May 2019. This venue will host both the gymnastics events of the summer games, as well as the sport of Boccia during the Paralympics that will be held shortly thereafter. Boccia is a precision sport much like petanque or bowls, and involves contestants in wheelchairs who attempt to either get their leather balls closer to a target, or to knock their opponents’ leather balls further from it.
Following both of these Olympic events, the Olympics Gymnastics Center will be converted into an exhibition venue, and it will be dismantled in 2030. To enable this eventual bringing down of this structure, a majority of its construction is being done in wood, specifically Japanese Larch (Larix kaempferi). The roof will span an area of 90 meters and the seating capacity of the Olympic Gymnastics Center is 10,000 spectators. However, it was a view towards sustainability that prompted designers to use locally sourced wood for the construction. As Hidemichi Takahashi, the lead architect on this construction project put it, “The design has a view on post-usage after the Games. No major changes are needed for it to be used after the Games. From an eco-friendly point of view, this venue uses the most amount of wood out of all the Tokyo 2020 venues.”