Jan Kaplický: Architectural Visionary and Futurist Designer

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Jan Kaplický (18 April 1937 – 14 January 2009) was a Czech architect who spent a significant part of his life in the United Kingdom. He was the leading architect behind the innovative design office, Future Systems. He was best known for the neofuturistic Selfridges Building in Birmingham, England, and the Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London.

Life and Career

He was born on 18 April 1937, in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) Kaplický studied at the College of Applied Arts and the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, where he developed his skills in architecture and design. He later moved to the United Kingdom in 1968, where he worked for the prestigious architecture firm Foster + Partners for over a decade. During his time there, he played a crucial role in designing iconic projects such as the London Stansted Airport terminal and the Renault Distribution Centre in Swindon.

In 1979, Kaplický co-founded the Future Systems architectural practice with David Nixon, and they went on to create numerous groundbreaking projects that challenged conventional architectural norms. Some of their notable works include the Media Centre at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, the Selfridges department store in Birmingham, and the National Library of the Czech Republic in Prague. Kaplický’s designs were known for their bold and innovative use of shapes, materials, and technology, often incorporating futuristic and organic forms that pushed the boundaries of traditional architecture. He passed away on 14 January 2009, in Prague, Czech Republic.

Award and Legacy

Kaplický received several awards during his career, including the Stirling Prize in 1999, World Architecture Awards in 2001, and Royal Institute of British Architects Award for Architecture in 2004 . Kaplický’s legacy continues to inspire architects and designers around the world. His visionary designs, which combined cutting-edge technology, sustainability, and bold aesthetics, challenged traditional architectural norms and pushed the boundaries of what was possible in the built environment. He left an indelible mark on the field of architecture, and his work continues to be recognized for its innovation and contribution to the evolution of contemporary architecture.

In addition to his architectural achievements, Kaplický was known for his advocacy of environmental sustainability in architecture. He was passionate about incorporating sustainable design principles into his projects, including the use of green roofs, natural light, and energy-efficient technologies. His commitment to sustainability and innovative design has continued to influence contemporary architecture, and his legacy in this regard is enduring.

However, Kaplický’s career was not without controversies. Some of his projects faced criticism and opposition from local communities and authorities due to their unconventional designs, which were seen as challenging the established architectural norms of the respective regions. Despite these challenges, Kaplický remained dedicated to his vision and continued to push the boundaries of architecture until his untimely death in 2009.

Jan Kaplický was a visionary architect whose innovative designs and commitment to sustainability left a lasting legacy in the field of architecture. His bold and futuristic approach to architecture challenged traditional norms and continues to inspire architects and designers today. His work has been recognized with prestigious awards, and his influence on contemporary architecture can still be seen in many cutting-edge designs around the world. On 18 April 2012, Google celebrated Jan Kaplický’s 75th Birthday with a doodle.