Saïtama Arena

  • Saïtama, Japan
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Sport is a spectacle


Sport covers a multifaceted and contradictory reality. Sport is a spectacle. Major sporting events give our lives rhythm. For the fans, they’re practically religious festivals. Without resorting to the cliché that claims sport and culture are substitutes for religion, we have to admit that such major sporting events are also rituals and that the great stadiums that host them turn into veritable mythical temples of sport.


Our sporting temple will be placed at the heart of our game, with peristyles, wings and halls all round and sporting imagery everywhere. The major events will be projected on giant screens. People will come here to share their feelings rather than staying at home all by themselves in front of the TV. The arena, or arenas, will be equipped for the different sporting events. The lighting, amenities, and decor will create a signage system and an authentic atmosphere – essential for this precise rite as the pleasure wouldn’t be complete without it. This way, the arenas can be transformed successively on a scenographic level thanks to an extremely simple and efficient mecanism. Such metamorphoses will naturally cover cultural spectacles, classical and pop music concerts, and theatre, as well as political meetings and rallies. The terraces of the Saitama gardens will have a view of the city. They will be overrun with nature: trees, shrubs, grasses, gravel, sand, rocks and, of course, water. You’ll be able to jog there or break into a game of football or basketball, in the open air, go rock-climbing, do some bodybuilding, develop your balance, swim… or just stroll around, contemplating or meditating.


The hanging garden will consist in an interface between the city and nature. In the heart of the city, above the trains and the city lights (skyliners), this place should evoke the precariousness of time and the seasons and of life itself. So, the hanging gardens will give people a chance to grab a special moment in one part of the city. They’ll also be full of urban programs, like shops and commercial facilities that tone down the place’s originality a bit. So that everyone, even people who don’t do sport, feels free to walk around and make the most of the gardens. Commercial programs (bars in front of the giant screens, aquariums, hotels, restaurants, clubs, etc.) will play a role and add to the richness of this new urban realm. They’ll provide a necessary link between fantasy and reality, which is an essential condition for the city as well as for life, an economic condition for survival, and a condition for points of disruption and convergence in the city of the future.




Jean Nouvel