Architects are often late bloomers. Frank Gehry is in his prime at 79; Ralph Rapson died at his drafting board last year at 93.
Jan Kaplicky was just coming into his own when he died yesterday at 71. He recently won the competition to build the controversial National Library of the Czech Republic, which he called "an eco building in the park" (TreeHugger readers pronounced it ugly).
However Kaplicky thought there was still a role for books:
"as Google puts evey book on line, we still need places where you can smell ink on paper, explore bindings and share a space with other to whom books, words and ideas matter."
Critic Ken Powell noted:
"He could be rather entertaining but he was also very pessimistic about the world and about architecture… because reality never met his expectations and vision. I don’t think he did fulfil his potential because there were many more ideas and perhaps he didn't have time in his life to do them."
Jan Kaplicky, dead at 71, just a few hours after his daughter was born to his second wife, Czech film producer Eliska Fuchsova, 41 years his younger.
Kaplicky in TreeHugger:
Future Systems wins Czech National Library Competition