The National Gymnasium is a sport facility complex designed and build between 1961 and 1964 for the Tokyo Olympic Games by Japanese architect [Kenzo Tange]. The complex includes two stadium, a small one for basketball and boxing, and a large one for swimming or skating events. The two stadiums are well-known for their large suspended roofs.
Built for the Summer Olympic Games, the National Gymnasium in Yoyogi Park has become an architectural icon in Tokyo for its distinctive design. The Gymnasium is a hybridization of western modernist aesthetics and traditional Japanese architecture.
Tange’s innovative structural design with a dynamically suspended roof creates dramatic sweeping curves that appear to effortlessly drape from two large central supporting cables.
"Together with a number of other important projects which [Kenzo Tange] carried out after 1959, the Olympic stadia in Tokyo can be regarded as the culmination of his career, designed in 1960 and built in 1964, on a par with the highest achievements of the Japanese tradition... The plan [of the larger stadium] is in the form of two semi-circles, slightly displaced in relation to one another, with their unconnecting ends elongated into points. The entrances are located in the concave sides. The roof is supported on two reinforced concrete pillars, and is made up of a system of steel cables onto which enameled steel plates are then soldered. The curving form of the roof serves to make it more resistant to wind, which can reach hurricane force in this region.
— Udo Kultermann. Kenzo Tange: Works and Projects. p128, 136.