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Czech-born architect Kaplicky dies aged 71 (CeskeNoviny.cz)

2009-01-15, 8:28:00 • English
Czech-born architect Kaplicky dies aged 71
(CTK, CeskeNoviny.cz, 15th of January 2009, 8:18 AM)

Prague – Czech-born architect Jan Kaplicky, author of the controversial design of the National Library building planned for the Czech capital, died in Prague on Wednesday evening, aged 71, it ensues from information CTK received from several reliable sources.
The police have only confirmed the death of a man of Kaplicky's age, but they declined to give his identity.

Earlier on Wednesday his wife gave birth to their daughter.

According to CTK's information, Kaplicky collapsed while walking along a street. A passer-by called in the rescue service around 8:30 p.m. but the doctors could not resuscitate Kaplicky any more.

Kaplicky's relatives have already confirmed his identity, a source told CTK.

The National Library (NK) design, dubbed Octopus for its organic shape, was to be the first significant project by Kaplicky, a renowned British architect of Czech origin, in his fatherland.

Although the project won an international architectonic competition two years ago, it will almost definitely not be built in Prague's Letna neighbourhood, as originally planned.

Nevertheless, its design made Kaplicky popular among the Czech public.

Since his departure from the then communist Czechoslovakia in 1968, Kaplicky lived in Britain where his most renowned projects have been realised.

"This is another protagonist of Czech culture who has been crushed by Czech narrow-mindedness," Vlastimil Jezek, former NK director, told CTK.

While in the post, Jezek struggled for Kaplicky's project to be built. Last September he was sacked over his efforts.

A friend of Kaplicky, popular pop singer Pavel Bobek, said he believes that the developments around Kaplicky's NK project have cut his live short.

He criticised those in the Czech Republic who had lashed-out at Kaplicky, including President Vaclav Klaus.

From the beginning, Klaus was a sharp critic of the "Octopus." Later his criticism was joined by Prague Mayor Pavel Bem, who significantly contributed to the project being dropped.

Last October, Kaplicky became the first personality to reject the prize the Culture Ministry awards for people's contribution to literature, theatre, music, fine art and architecture.

The jury awarded the prize to him for his extraordinary architectonic work at home and abroad.

Jan Kaplicky was born in Prague on April 18, 1937 to a family of artists. His father was a painter, sculptor and architect. His mother was a drawer.

Kaplicky graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (VSUP) in Prague. Before winning renown in Britain, he cooperated with famous architects such as Norman Foster, Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano.

In October 2007 Kaplicky married his second wife, Czech film producer Eliska Fuchsova, 41 years his younger.

From the first marriage he has a 12-year-old son.

Several books by Kaplicky have been published in the Czech Republic and a documentary film about him has been made.

more: ..:. CeskeNoviny.cz :.

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