Jan Kaplicky Commes des Garcons, Toyko, Photographer Masa Yuki Hayashi.

Jan Kaplicky Maserati Museum - Modena, Italy, Image credit Future Systems.

From Prague to London, Jan Kaplicky, Architect of the Future

Jan Kaplický, Selfridges Birmingham, Photographer Norbert Schoerner.

Jan kaplický Portrait.


Design Museum
Shad Thames
+ 0870 909 9009
Jan Kaplicky
Architect of the future

July 1-November 1, 2009

Jan Kaplicky who died earlier in 2009 at aged 71, was the Czech architect responsible for some of the most remarkable buildings that Britain has ever seen. This exhibition curated by Deyan Sudjic will celebrate Kaplicky’s career, his influences and unique futuristic vision for building design.

Kaplicky was the driving force behind a new school of architecture and his buildings continue to stimulate, amaze and inspire. Kaplický pushed against the status quo, offering a unique personal vision. This exhibition celebrates the work of a gifted architect and designer.

Arriving in London as a refugee after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, Kaplicky worked with Denys Lasun, Richard Rogers and Norman Foster. He established Future Systems with David Nixon in 1979 which worked initially as a kind of think tank. Astonishing drawings and plans for robot built structures spinning in earth’s orbit, weekend houses in the guise of space age survival pods and malleable interiors were just some of Kaplicky’s visions.

Amanda Levete joined Future Systems in 1989, and together Kaplick and Levete began to build some of the practice's best known work. In 1994 Future Systems designed the Stirling Prize winning media centre at Lord's Cricket Ground and in 1999 designed the Selfridges department store in Birmingham, a sensuous iceberg like building that would win the 2004 RIBA Award for Architecture.

Deyan Sudjic comments “Jan was a remarkable architect, and a brilliant artist. We can only now begin to understand his impact on the shape of the contemporary world”.

Jan Kaplicky was born in Prague in 1937 where he studied at the College of Applied Arts & Architecture. In 1968 he fled to London following the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia.

In London Kaplicky worked at Denys Lasdun & Partners before joining the office of Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers working on the design for the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. From 1979 until 1983 he worked at Foster & Associates working on projects including the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Headquarters and the Nomos Glass Table.

Future Systems began in 1979 as a partnership between Jan Kaplicky and David Nixon. In 1989 Amanda Levete joined Kaplicky as partner and together they began to build some of the practice's best known work including The Hauer-King House, House in Wales, Docklands Floating Bridge and the Media Centre at Lord’s and the building for Selfridges in Birmingham.

Prior to his death Kaplicky won several competitions in his native country including the Czech National Library in Prague and he was chosen by the South Bohemian Association of Friends of Music to build the Concert Hall in Budvar. In Italy Kaplicky won the competition to build the new Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena which is currently under construction.

Kaplicky lectured in more than 20 countries and published 14 books. Jan Kaplický died in Prague on 14 January 2009.


Jan Kaplický, Concert Hall - Budvar, Czech Republic, Image credit Future Systems.

Jan Kaplický, Lord's Media Centre, Photographer Richard Davies.