Architect Jan Kaplický dies at 71

2362You might not know anything of this radical Czech-born architect, but chances are if you are a cricket fan then you would have seen his work at Lord’s – the striking space-pod media centre has been the backdrop for many matches I’ve watched on TV. Kaplický collapsed on a Czech street Wednesday night,  just hours after his daughter Johanka was born to wife Eliska Kaplický Fuchsova, a Czech TV producer. Prior to relocating back to Prague, he’d spent 40 years in London. In 1998 he’d established an architectural practice with former wife Amanda Levete called Future Systems.  Levete and Kaplický have a 13 year old son, Josef.

Architect Jan Kaplický

Architect Jan Kaplický (1937-2009)

His design (below) for the new national library in Prague – a cross between an amoeba and an octopus – won an international competition but failed to impress Czech politicians and influential members of the architectural community. His inability to win them over and gain acceptance for the design upset him greatly. Some friends of the architect have attributed his too-early death to the resultant stress.

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Future Systems are also renowned for their design of the Birmingham Selfridges.  The curvaceous store is covered by a dramatic skin made up of 15,000 spun aluminium disks. It described as a “sexy big giant” by former Selfridge’s chief executive Vittorio Radice.

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