Birmingham Selfridges architect Jan Kaplicky dies, aged 71
The architect behind some of Britain's foremost modern buildings, including the iconic Selfridges store in Birmingham, has died in his native Prague.
Jan Kaplicky, 71, also designed the award-winning media centre at Lord's cricket ground in London. He and his design consultancy Future Systems were also responsible for the Stonehenge tourist centre and a floating bridge linking West India Quay and Canary Wharf in London.
Kaplicky died on Wednesday, just hours after his wife Eliska gave birth to a daughter Johanka. Kaplicky collapsed on a Prague street said a spokeswoman for Prague's rescue service. Rescue workers attempted to resuscitate him for 30 minutes.
Born in Prague April 18, 1937, Kaplicky studied at the College of Applied Arts and Architecture in the Czech capital before leaving his homeland for London in 1968 after the Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia crushed the liberal reforms of Alexander Dubcek and ended an era known as the "Prague Spring."
"I realised: the time has come, you can't stay here because there's absolutely no hope in your lifetime," Kaplicky said in 2004.
Kaplicky's design of the new media centre at Lord's was honoured with Britain's most prestigious architecture award, the Stirling Prize, in 1999.
In 2007, Future Systems won an international design competition for the new building of the Czech National Library in Prague, which would have been Kaplicky's first building in his homeland.
But the project, a pyramidal building that looks like an artificial hill with a huge eye-like window near the top overseeing the capital's landmarks, including the Prague Castle, drew controversy.
Czech leaders, including President Vaclav Klaus and Prague Mayor Pavel Bem opposed it. Currently, it is not clear if the project will ever materialise.
Kaplický and Amanda Levete, his partner at Future Systems, were a couple for 15 years and have a son Josef. They separated but continued their professional association, saying that the separation has strengthened their working relationship.
However, last year the pair acrimoniously planned a business split, with the company to be divided into two practices.