It may have been likened to a bicycle helmet, but that hasn't stopped the Japan Sport Council from selecting Zaha Hadid Architect's design for a new Japanese national stadium to be built by 2019. It's hoped that the design for the 80,000-seat stadium will boost Tokyo's chances of hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics.

The design was the winning entrant to an international competition to design a stadium to hold 80,000 people with a retractable all-weather roof: a specification only matched by Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The judges, who were chaired by architect Tadao Ando and included Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, were also looking for a design that would integrate well with the local road system and landscape.

Hadid beat out imposing competition: none more so than sports and stadia specialists Populous, which has a number of national arenas to its name. The new national stadium will match Populous' London's Olympic Stadium design for capacity, and that of the Beijing National Stadium (better known as the Bird's Nest), though this has been reduced from its 91,000 capacity at the time of the 2008 Olympics.

The detailed design and construction of the stadium is budgeted at ¥130 billion (US$1.6 billion), and will press ahead for completion by the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The stadium will stand on the site of the current Olympic Stadium, built for the 1964 Olympics, which will be demolished by October 2015.

Sources: Zaha Hadid Architects, The Wall Street Journal