Kaplicky

by robertmcnicol

Sad news on the architect front. Jan Kaplický died yesterday in Prague. Sadder still is that he was en route to celebrate the birth of his daughter.

Kaplický co-founded Future Systems and designed two of the most iconic buildings in this country in the last ten years – the media centre at Lord’s and the Selfridges store in Birmingham. Clearly Kaplický, unlike Rogers and Foster, both of whom he worked for in his career, sought to bring organic, curvaceous forms to architecture, rather than leaving them for decoration or shunning them entirely in favour of rectilinear buildings.

I admire him for his refusal to bow to the financial pressure to build glass cubes. We don’t have many buildings by him, but the ones we do have are really something. I must admit a certain reluctance to really like the Selfridges in Birmingham – it’s a bit too monumental and inflated for my tastes. Plus I doubt I’ll ever be able (or really want) to go shopping there. But the media centre at Lord’s is really something. When you go past on the bus you want to jump out and clamber all over it and see if it really is as squidgy as it looks.

Where is it written that buildings have to be boxes? … People aren’t boxes.

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