Jan Kaplický: Past Visions and Future Systems

Through the different eras and styles in architecture, one that stood as a celebration of technology and innovation was the British hi-tech movement; an architectural approach spearheaded by the likes of Norman Foster and Richard Rogers. In this group of visionary designers were an ambitious pair that called themselves Future Systems.

Ferrari Museum. Future Systems

In 1979, two Foster & Partners employees decided to form a think tank to explore architectural ideas far beyond the construction abilities of the time. Czech architect, Jan Kaplicky led the collective and maintained his position at Foster until 1983 when he left to focus on Future Systems full time. Several years later in, 1989, he met a young architect at Richard Rogers and Partners; Amanda Levete, they quickly joined forces to spearhead one of the most prolific high-tech architectural practices of our time. While Kaplicky was largely the futuristic dreamer, Levete was the reason they were able to actually realize their ambitious projects.

Selfridges. Future Systems
Lord’s Media Centre. Future Systems
Ferrari Museum. Future Systems

Although only a handful of their buildings were realized during their time together, each one stands as an iconic landmark, boldly standing out in their context. Some of the prolific building put together by Future Systems were Selfridges in Birmingham, Lord’s Media Centre in London and the Ferrari Museum in Modena, to name a few.

Ferrari Museum. Future Systems
Lord’s Media Centre. Future Systems
Selfridges. Future Systems

It is rather mind-blowing to consider that most of their projects were designed in the 90s, but even more fascinating are the drawings created by Jan Kaplicky that still mesmerize us to this day. He was possibly the last great architectural draughtsman in an era of non-existent hand drawn representation. Kaplicky died in 2009 shortly after separating from Amanda Levete. At the time, he was working on a controversial proposal for the Czech National Library in Prague.

Czech National Library. Future Systems

With very little left to say, we will leave you with a series of Kaplicky’s amazing futuristic studies he created in the 70s, most of which were done for NASA.

© Jan Kaplicky – Progressivsm Laboratory
© Jan Kaplicky – Progressivsm Laboratory
© Jan Kaplicky – Progressivsm Laboratory
© Jan Kaplicky – Progressivsm Laboratory
© Jan Kaplicky – Progressivsm Laboratory