The organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games have unveiled the ‘Village Plaza’ – a wooden complex in traditional Japanese style at the entrance of the Olympic village. Located in the Harumi waterfront district of Tokyo, the Village Plaza will be the central hub of the Athletes’ Village. It will have a general store, café and media center, which will support athletes during their stay during the Games. The Village Plaza will also be the venue for the team welcome ceremonies.
One of the sustainability initiatives of the Village Plaza is Operation BATON, which stands for Building Athletes’ Village with Timber of the Nation. The plaza was constructed using timber from sustainable sources donated by 63 participating municipalities across Japan. Like historic Japanese buildings, all of the floors, partitions and pillars are made up of wooden beams (cedar, larch, cypress), symbolically made available by the municipalities from across the country.
Inscribed on almost all of the nearly 1,300 cubic meters of lumber is the name of the village, town, city or prefecture from where it was donated. After the Games, the Village Plaza will be dismantled, and the timber will be returned to the municipalities that donated it for re-use in local facilities that will help to commemorate the Games – for example, public benches or parts of school buildings.