Thursday, January 15, 2009

Avant-garde Architect, Kaplicky, Dies

Jan Kaplicky (left), the world-renowned Czech architect and founder of the architectural firm, Future Systems, collapsed and died in Prague January 14, 2009 at the age of 71 (1937 - 2009).

He is best known in the UK for designing the hugely popular Selfridges building in Birmingham and the Lord's cricket ground media centre which won the Stirling Prize in 1999.

Born in Czechoslovakia on April 18, 1937, he left his homeland in 1968 and settled in the UK. He first worked with Denys Lasdun and Partners before joining Richard Rogers's studio in 1971 where he worked on the competition winning design of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. He later worked for Foster & Partners (1979-83). Meanwhile, he founded Future Systems in 1979.

His often astonishing avant-garde designs were praised for adventurous use of materials, such as the aluminium façade of the Selfridges store in Birmingham. Other celebrated Kaplicky buildings include the Maserati museum in Modena (1994), and the "floating" bridge linking Canary Wharf and West India Quay in London.

In 2007 his international design competition-winning National Library project for Prague (near right) caused uproar among local residents and politicians after it was likened to an octopus.

Click on the heading above to go to the Future Systems website and see their avant-garde designs.

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