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Kaplicky library hopes fade

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Jan Kaplicky’s National Library in Prague looks set to remain unbuilt after the only two architects to have worked on the project were released from his former practice Future Systems


Jan Kaplicky, who died in January

According to reports in the Czech press, Amanda Levete, his ex-business partner and now figurehead of the Future Systems brand, let both Georg Roetzl and Janis Teer go as part of the ongoing office re-organisation.

The move means there are no architects remaining with detailed knowledge of the controversial project, nicknamed the Octopus, which ran into heated opposition almost immediately after the blob-like scheme won an anonymous international competition in 2007.

Levete, who has also set up a separate practice Amanda Levete Architects, is alleged to have handed all the schemes led by Kaplicky back to the clients following his death in January.

National Library in Prague

Kaplicky’s design for the National Library in Prague

But with neither Prague’s City Hall nor the national government wanting to press ahead with the project, as it is becoming increasingly unclear who the designs should be handed to.

The practice has since moved to scotch rumours that the designers, who had primarily worked for Kaplicky, had in fact been fired. A statement read: ‘The project was on hold following the completion of the competition phase and no one had been working on it for many months.

‘Three architectural assistants from Jan’s team were made redundant at the end of January by mutual agreement, as there was not the work to support them. As is widely known, it was Jan’s and my wish that we would form independent offices. This process is underway and nearly complete.’

See the Architects section for more articles on the life and work of Jan Kaplicky

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