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Kaplicky throws down the gauntlet in Prague Library battle

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Jan Kaplicky has claimed that his fight to build Future Systems’ Prague Library in the Czech Republic is a ‘battle for modern architecture and culture’.

His comments come barely a week after the exasperated architect claimed that he would sue the Mayor of Prague, Pavel Bém, after a decision was again put off on the £90 million scheme (AJ online 04.03.08).

Speaking to the AJ, Kaplicky said Bém’s opposition to the scheme was ‘purely political’ and warned that a failure to realise the ‘blob’-like library would be a threat to the integrity of all future international competitions.

‘Architects should be proud of me,’ said Kaplicky. ‘I’m in this battle for all of them.’

Kaplicky warned the mayor that his political career would be finished if he continued to oppose the scheme, which he claims has huge popular support among the public.

‘Twelve thousand people have signed an email petition in support of [the library]. There are stickers and they have even made cakes in the shape of it. When I get on a tram, at every stop three people from age five to age 80 stop to wish me good luck.’

‘[Bém] will lose. He will lose heavily,’ added Kaplicky.

A decision on the library, which has an automated book-storage system and is described by Kaplicky as ‘the most modern in the world,’ will be made in the next few weeks.

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