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Jan Kaplicky (1937 - 2009)

The world-renowned Czech architect and founder of Future Systems - who designed Lord’s media centre and Birmingham Selfridges - has died

Kaplicky collapsed and died in Prague last night. He was 71.

He is best known in the UK for designing the hugely popular Selfridges building in Birmingham and the Lord’s cricket ground media centrewhich 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 avant-garde designs were praised for adventurous use of materials, such as the aluminium fa硤e 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 caused uproar among local residents and politicians after it was likened to an octopus.

Architects including Norman Foster and Richard Rogers have paid tribute to Kaplicky, who died hours after his second wife Eliska gave birth to daughter Johana on Wednesday afternoon. He also had a son, Josef, from the first marriage with British architect and Future Systems partner, Amanda Levete.

Jan Kaplicky: a career in pictures
Jan Kaplicky (1937-2009): Career timeline
Tributes to Jan Kaplicky
Video: Eye Above Prague - Kaplicky’s struggle to build a Czech National Library

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