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Timber roof raised on Tokyo Olympics gymnastics venue

On Nov. 7, engineers raised one of five massive timber roof sections that will top the $180 million building serving as the gymnastics venue for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, according to www.ourmidland.com.

Each of the five wooden sections weighs 440,000 pounds. The section raised Nov. 7 was lifted from the ground at a pace of about 3.5 inches per minute.

"By using wood instead of steel, the weight of the roof is cut in half," says architect Hidemichi Takahashi.

Wood has been traditionally used in Japanese housing and religious shrines and temples. Officials said the wood used for the roof is larch, a conifer in the pine family.

"Japan's wood culture will be communicated through the venue," Takahashi says.

Officials said all the wood used in the venue is Japanese. There has been controversy regarding the origin of wood used in the new Olympic Stadium, which is under construction in central Tokyo.

The gymnastics venue will seat about 12,000 and will be used for 10 years after the Olympics as a convention center by the Tokyo metropolitan government. After that, plans call for the building to be razed.

The venue is halfway completed and should be finished by November 2019.


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