The 2020 Summer Olympics, held in Tokyo between 23 July and 8 August 2021, stood out with its sustainability theme. The Olympics is one of the largest sports organizations in the world. The adverse effects of such large-scale events on the environment and society are undeniably high. With this in mind, the Tokyo Olympics focused on respect for the environment and the people. The organization was designed with this particular idea in all its aspects.
Sustainability at the organization is shaped around the concept of “Be better, together-For the planet and the people”, and discussed under; Climate Change, Resource Management, Environment and Biodiversity, Human Rights, Cooperation and Communication topics. The Olympics searched for alternative answers on these topics, which cover the primary problems in the global sustainability arena.
The most talked-about product of the sustainability concept was undoubtedly the medals made by recycling precious metals from discarded mobile phones. However, the concept was not limited to that. The Olympic Village Plaza designed by Nikken Sekkei and the podium designed by Asao Tokolo were also parts of the sustainability theme of the Olympics.
Although Olympic Village Plaza has been criticized for its use of trees, it seems to be a relatively sustainable structure, compared to similar global organizations. Designed by Tokyo-based architectural office Nikken Sekkei, the building was inspired by traditional Japanese aesthetics and was built using wood, sent from local governments in different regions of Japan. After the Olympics are over, the building is planned to be completely dismantled and the wooden pieces used in the complex, each bearing the signature of the place where they are from, will be sent to their homes to be repurposed in different public projects. Olympic Village Plaza of 5,300 square meters, designed as a common area for athletes; also includes elements such as banks, cafes, resting corners, shops, and hairdressers.
Another initiative that aims to make the games sustainable is the Asao Tokolo designed podiums, produced by recycling plastic packaging waste collected by the Japanese people. The platforms, which were produced using 3D printers from 24.5 tons of household plastic waste, are aimed to be recycled as product packaging after the games. Other prominent steps of the sustainability theme of the Games include the mattresses made of compressed cardboard for the athletes and the fact that every part of the rooms they accommodated in is fully recyclable.