Photo/IllutrationMedia representatives get a sneak preview of the New National Stadium on July 3. (Tatsuya Shimada)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

"Made in Japan" is an understatement when it comes to famed architect Kengo Kuma's design for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics' main venue.

Using timber from across the archipelago and equipped with natural cooling, the New National Stadium not only embodies the Japanese spirit, but also presents an astonishingly nuanced approach to architecture.

Media representatives were given a sneak peek July 3 of the structure, which is 90 percent complete, a year before the sports extravaganza gets under way.

While the stadium's design allows air to circulate, producing a natural breeze, large fans have been installed at strategic points. With the Olympics being held during some of the hottest and humid days in the host capital, such a design will prove invaluable, as there is no air conditioning in the stands.

"We've incorporated the natural breeze, and because the roof extends over all of the seats, the temperature felt by spectators will be about 10 degrees lower than the actual reading," said an official in charge of the project.

Large eaves have been installed at the highest points of the stadium's roof to allow the breeze to enter during the summer, while allowing chilly winds to escape upwards in winter.

A total of 185 fans have been installed on the first and third floors and mist machines will be placed at eight entrances on the second floor.

One look at the stadium makes clear Kuma's intention to create a facility that "will bring together the souls of all Japanese."

The exterior of the structure makes use of wood gathered from various parts of the nation. Not only that--the pieces of timber from cedar and pine trees from all 47 prefectures have been used in such a way that they face the direction of their respective origins.

For example, lumber from the Kanto region is distributed on the eastern side of the stadium, while lumber from the Kinki region is found on the western side.

The north and east gates are constructed from lumber taken from the three Tohoku prefectures of Fukushima, Iwate and Miyagi, which were the hardest hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster.

Lumber for the south gate was taken from Kumamoto Prefecture, which was hit by a series of temblors three years ago, causing serious damage.

The New National Stadium, when completed, will seat 60,000 people for the Olympics. About 45,000 seats have already been installed in a mosaic of colors designed to blend the structure into the surrounding environment. For instance, seats closer to the ground are painted in darker colors, while higher-up seats are painted in lighter hues.

The top of the structure will feature a public area with a perimeter of about 850 meters where people can stretch their legs by jogging or walking.

With most of the construction work complete, grass will be planted on the field from mid-July, and the track course is set to be completed by September.

The entire structure is scheduled to be completed in November, followed by a formal opening event set for Dec. 21.

The first sports event to take place in the stadium will be the Emperor's Cup soccer final scheduled for New Year's Day.