Blob Library

Two Buildings by Kaplicky are Going to be Build in CR

volavka from the top, sectional view The luxurious quarter, which to be build starting this summer close to the Konopiste chateau, will get not one, but two jewels, shaped by the architect Kaplicky. The Club Volavka and Vila Kaplicky. How is the design of Jan Kaplicky going to look like? The Developer’s company Resort Living carefully hides the design, as well as its price. The developers say it won’t be relieved until it is finished, and only after it will be on sale. And they also admit people have been calling to buy it from the very beginning.

volavka detail, fireplace in the middle, sectional view The heart of the whole area will be the Volavka (a heron) Club. “The club is going to be the heart of the whole quarter. The place, where people can meet. We want people from Prague and around to come there. It is not going to be any closed destination. “ said the director of the developing company.

In the heart of the club is gong to be a café with with an opened fireplace, wellness centre, winery and shops. If you are interested in living close to Prague, the price of the cheapest apartment in the resort is 2,5 mil czk.

Supporters of Blob by Kaplicky demonstrated in Prague

The original estimates spoken of more people, at the end about a thousand came to gather around the statue of Jan Hus at the Old Town Square. To support the National Library came also famous personalities like Aňa Geislerova, but also vip Karel Schwarzenberg, who is not only the Foreign Minister, but one of the few moral authorities among contemporary Czech politicians. He tried to explain Prague mustn’t be conservative and that it needs something new.

Most of the people who came were young, often students. Those were called together using the Internet portal Facebook; a community of the library supporters gradually gathered there, up to the present state of about 20 000 members. Which is unique – no demonstration has been called together this way so far here. The Prague City Hall forbid them to build a platform though, so they had to make it from an improvised one at statue of Jan Hus. But they say this is but the beginning.

Prague City Hall allowed collecting money for Blob Library

The foundation ‘For the Library’ gained permission from the City Hall on Tuesday. The collection should finance construction of the National Library according to the deign of recently decedent architect Jiri Kaplicky. The collection, which is permitted from 9th February should end on 26th January 2012.

Postavme se ke knihovne celem! (face up to the library!) under this motto the civil initiative Democracy builds calls together a demonstration on the Old Town Square. The gathering will bring, according to the organizers, at least 3000 people, including many known personalities.

The Democracy builds initiative have more than 22 700 members on their facebook profile. We also have to count with the massive support the building has among the general public. They want to react on the recent quote of Pavel Bem, that “Prague has made the definitive full top after the library” with the new quote “It is time to start a new sentence.”

Demonstration for Blob this Thursday

The supporters of the new National Library in Prague, the ‘Blob’ building by Kaplicky and his Future System studio are going to express their wish. The gathering takes place at the Old Town Square, 5th February in 18:30. The top supporters are to come; Vlastimil Jezek, an architect and former Prague mayor Jan Kasl and Prague representative Jiri Witzany, who appealed to Pavel Bem to put through the library after death of Jan Kaplicky.

Bem’s reaction was: “ Prague has already made the definitive full stop behind the National Library long ago” but Witzany disagrees – “Prague has to come up to the unfortunate procedure when the library was realized, but that is not possible without certain politicians changing their attitude.”

After Kaplicky’s death, an Internet group of supporters came into being, growing rapidly, now having about 20 000 members. How many people can come to support the library in the real life remains a question.

The last goodbye to Jan Kaplicky

The last goodbye to the famous Czech architect Jan Kaplicky came to express about hundreds of people yesterday. About half an hour before the ceremony begun, the former church of st. Anna had whole crowds standing in front of it, with flowers. Famous personalities took part in the ceremony; Jiri Paroubek with his wife, senator Jiri Dinsbier, Architect Eva Jiricna, actor Bolek Polivka, documentalist Olga Sprotakova, composer Varhan Bauer, singer Krystov Michal, or close friend of Kaplicky, singer Pavel Bobek.

A very sad moment of the ceremony was, when Dagmar Havlova came out to read a letter, the former president Vaclav Havel wrote for Johanka Kaplicky to her future 12th birthday. He mentions he got into hospital the same day with serious health trouble. “.. I don’t know why In the end he got priority to enter the gate of heaven, but when I found out about it it was clear for me I have to honour his legacy and work on its realization. The building of the National Library at the place of the dictator’s statue is an expression of culture and humanity, the expression of human respect to to the nature. I wish you (Kaplicky’s daughter) won’t have to face human smallness more than necessary.

Planned Demonstration for Blob

The virtual group on the Internet – the Facebook profile called ‘pro knihovnu’ (for the library) – transformed into a civil initiative ‘Demokracie Slavi’ (Democracy celebrates). The initiative associates supporters of Jan Kaplicky, who unexpectedly died last week, and his library. The group now organizes manifestation called ‘postavme se ke knihovně čelem’ (lets support the library) which should take place 5th February in the centre of Prague. The exact location is going to be specified later.

The event is designed to rouse interest of the public and revive the debate about building of the new National Library building according to Kaplicky’s design. The organizers expect this is going to be a long-term battle, and plan to form civil association in the future. On the Internet page, about 1500 people have already announced the are going to the demonstration. According to one of the initiators, one of the reasons why continue in the battle is the fight against apathy.

'Support Blob' Initiative Set on the Internet

The architect Jan Kaplicky left last week, his project of the new building of the National Library in Prague (so called Blob) lives on. A meeting for support of this project is going to take place soon in coming days. The organizers assembled on the Facebook profile called ‘PRO KNIHOVNU’, which pays a tribute to Kaplicky and his Blob library. They haven’t stated yet, when or where is a demonstration going to take place in Prague, the organizers want to wait until the architect will be ceremonially buried.

Meanwhile politicians negate the very possibility the library would be build in Prague, a collection for support originates right now, formed by famous or competent people of public life; architect Jan Kasl, documentaries Olga Sommerova, rector of AMU Ivo Mathe. In the advisory board there are film-maker Jan Sverak, artist Jiri Cernicky and designer Alan Zaruba.

It is not the last activity which is connected to the project. Also a book is going to be published, by the ex-director of the library Vlastimil Jezek. The book called ‘Stripky chobotnice’ (Shatters of the Octopus) is going to be sold on 2nd March, exactly two years after Kaplicky was proclaimed the winner of the international contest.

A Farewell to Jan Kaplicky

There are groups who claim Kaplicky was knackered. People spend the day after his death by medially challenging his opposers. Truly, hard to say whether the dispute around the Blob library shortened his life, or if he died from happiness that his daughter Johanka was born to be a strong and healthy kid. At least he died very, very happy. I feel sorry for his wife, who is going to celebrate her daughter’s birthday with bitterness from now on.

Jan Kaplicky designed buildings in Czechoslovakia already, but, as a lot of Czech intelligence, he had to escape the communists for emmigracy in Britain. He gave Britain some remarkable buildings, which got ahead the whole century by its 21st century design, use of materials and energy. He didn’t want to return to Prague, because he knew Czechs are not ready to accept his ways. Unfortunately he was right.

After he was persuaded by his friend to try for the new national library and winning the international contest, Kaplicky was sucked into the Czech self-censoring surroundings, which he was prepared to fight. But he didn’t expect he is to became another Klaus’s stepping stone to fame, and his winning design was about to be crashed by Klaus’s influence.

Was it the frustration from us Czechs that killed him? I don’t think so. He was an artist who always aroused controversy, and he was ready to fight until the end (viz his Paroubek connection). The Czech Republic bought him much more – love to Eliska, his wife, he was in love like a novel character. His heart didn’t make it through such happiness, and there is a lot of people who is going to miss him. Lets remember him for what he has done for Czech reputation and architecture in the world.

Architect Kaplicky Died

The world famous architect Jan Kaplicky died yesterday. Tragically, it happened on the same day, when his wife Eliska gave birth to their first child, Johanka. According to the police speaker Jan Mikulovsky pedestrians found a laying man in Prague Dejvice “An elderly man collapsed in Ceskoslovenske armady street at half past eight pm.” a woman who passed by called an ambulance, than a police unit tried cpr. The police officers and later the ambulance attempts ended without success. Jan Kaplicky died 14th January 2009 at the age of seventy one.

Kaplicky was never too old, together with his young colleagues in his Future Systems in London worked on change of traditional conception of architecture, used innovative materials, cared about ecology and tried to use natural energy and light. His team uses know-how of NASA research and boat and plane industry – materials that are strong, light, persistent, seamless. Two of Kaplicky’s buildings were by The Independent listed among the most significant modern buildings – the shopping mall Selfridges in Birmingham and the journalist platform on the London cricket stadium Lord’s.

The Blob library only represents legality

The capital of the CR lets the term, until which the conditions for selling the parcel for the building of the new National Library should have been clear, to elapse. The representatives had the last chance to prolong the term, previously set on 31st December 2008. But the negotiation didn’t take place.

So the final decision is probably going to come in those few weeks, and as the Prague representatives stayed the same, the decision will be, quite possibly, negative. Or, as they didn’t prolong the contract, there may be other debates, but the Blob won’t be at Letna.

The decision itself, however, was never about Blob. It was about whether the representatives head with their ways to the past and decay, or to the future and development. Critiques of Klaus politics grow in numbers especially now, when the eyes of Europe turn to our small country, which is going to held the EU chairmanship.

The other countries look at the CR and see, what we already know – there is a lot of fresh liberal air, a lot of new attitudes, as well as groups of those who, probably as a heritage to the past regime, try to block the development in order to protect their own interests.

It was sad to watch, how ODS politicians change their stance from enchantment of the fresh Blob library to the negative attitude which started from Vaclav Klaus, in the instinct effort to keep their posts. In some cases, the bootlickery grow to such extent, the representatives lost their common sense. Pavel Bem is the proof.

Blob only stands for political freedom. If it wouldn’t be for it, there would be something else, on which the decay would display itself. But in order to be able to do what is right and legal, we first need to get rid of those, who permanently harm the interests and rights of this country.

Kaplicky Refused State Prize, Disgusted by Two-Face Politics

The Architect Jan Kaplicky, the creator of the winning design of the new Czech National library, refused to accept the prestigious prize for contribution to Decorative Art. The prize-giver is the Ministry of Culture, the very same ministry that blocked him from building his winning design. “I consider the prize from the office that inhibits me to fulfill unacceptable.” Kaplicky reasoned his decision to the Culture Minister.

Kaplicky so became the first artist, who refused the significant state prize for an outstanding piece of architecture, by which he brought fame to the architecture in the CR. The reward for Kaplicky, 300 000 czk, the ministry gives to art activities.

Jan Kaplicky has won in the international architectonic contest for the new library, last year in spring. Still, it is not clear whether it will be build at all. The director of the National Library and a supporter of Kaplicky’s design Vlastimil Jezek was called off his position a month ago.

Money for Blob will used for Depository

The situation around the new national library is far from being closed. Even when Klaus and ODS used all their political pressure to prevent it from building, in the present National Library there is no room for new books, the heads try to solve the situation by building at least new depository. The National Library has bought a parcel in Prague Hostivar and had half a billion czk construction money released. That the money go directly from the fund originally intended for Blob is clear; the shadow minister of culture Jan Cieslar stated: “The ministry disposes total of 2,9 billion czk for Library matters” those are the Blob money.

The parliamentarian of CSSD and the ex-minister of culture Jandak is clear the main problem is reluctance of politicians against Blob: “During my work at the ministry, there was 1,9 billions and we count with another four” The depositary is not a substitute. It will help only in short-term horizon. The Blob will have to wait for the ODS to lose elections.

Parcel for the Blob Library – fact or fiction?

The Blob matter still continues, it will soon be two years since the international contest was announced. The National Library has a new leader now and a new piece of land to build on. A private company has allegedly offered it to Jezek.

The management of the Library keeps secret, which location is should be, and which is the company that made the offer. What Jezek admitted, was “It is on the territory of the capital city, somewhere at Prague 1-10 ” Kaplicky didn’t want to comment either.

The original parcel was promised by the capital, but than they backed out of the contract, allegedly because the National Library didn’t meet the requirements, which it pledged itself to.

New National Library Leader Supports Kaplicky's Blob

The leader of the National Library was recalled from political reasons from his post. He was replaced by his former deputy Pavel Hazuka. Hazuka immediately surprised by continuing in the road which cost Jezek his post; Hazuka looks for a piece of land to build the Blob on.

Hazuka sees the design of Blob as unique. So the story of Blob is not over by far, as the opposers hoped. They didn’t help anything by recalling Jezek, his successor belongs to the group witch respects the international contest more than the old men on the Castle.

Hazuka have also seen the first private location, which was offered to be the ‘Blob territory’. The place is in Prague, however its location is kept secret, and so is the new strategy, which the National Library team plans. The problem is, the Prague ODS have already achieved the international contest was (on the second shot) pronounced illegal.

Blob Library: The Leading Advocate Frozen Out

The minister of culture have recalled the leader of the National Library Vlastimil Jezek because of the battles around the Kaplicky’s Design.

Who stands among Klaus and his goals will be shifted aside. Such can be the explanation of why was Jezek recalled from day to day, by a call to his cell phone. The winning design of the National Library ‘Blob’ became fatal for his career.

Vlastimil Jezek made a miscalculation when he thought he won’t be called off his function. With him leaving, the ‘Blob’ project ends for now. The National Library have wasted at least 30 mil czk for the international contest and payments around the project.

Kaplicky can hope for next elections, because CSSD leader Paroubek promised him to build the Blob for Prague. If the elections will mean loss for the ODS, Jezek may come back too.

Kaplicky Introduces New Environmental Building

Ceske Budejovice witnessed the architect Jan Kaplicky to reveal his new design. As usually, the concept returns to the nature and learns from its shapes; As Kaplicky says, “we are not made of boxes either”. The new concert hall is very organic in shape, the image of sea devil comes in mind, especially from the side view, with an entrance where an eye usually is. The construction should be black from the outside, the inside is designed in large scale of colours.

Why black? The orchestra is dressed in black as well, and the audience is also expected to come dressed up, so they will directly match, also it is the colour of dignity, which increases interactivity. Its surface is designed to be from glass, which lasts hundreds of years without change.

The building could add much prestige to Ceske Budejovice, located between Prague and Vienna. Now there are only two remaining factors – the EU Funds are needed to give an amount of about 42 millions €, and also the president Vaclav Klaus is needed to stay silent this time, not to boycott it as the Blob. Pictures of the Sea Devil are here.

Blob dispute continues

The institution of the Czech National Library needs a new building. Now the library is placed in the old historical building of Klementinum, but this space is not suitable anymore. There is not enough room for all the books. To solve this problem, they held a competition, searching for the best design of the new library building, which should be placed in Letna area, in Prague 7. As the winner was announced an architect Jan Kaplicky with his Future Systems studio. Kaplicky, a Czech, who lives and works in London, won with his extravagant and for someones quite shocking project – a building of organic shape, in combination of green and purple colours, which became known as “Blob“. Some people really liked it, other ones did not, some ones liked the idea of the extravagant building but did not want it to be placed on such beautiful and important place in Letna, which may partly destroy a beautiful panorama of old Prague… so the never ending story about the National Library building started. Continue Reading

Klaus Celebrates – European Commission against new National Library

After a long year, when the right-wing politicians led by Vaclav Klaus looked for a slight chance to definitely kill the winning design of the new Czech National Library, they can finally celebrate – the new ‘Blob’ library was found ajar the law by the European Commission. That impugns the international contest, and gives the ODS a tool to finally get rid of the post-modern architect Kaplicky.

The battle of Blob have never been, and will never be, a battle for better Prague, it was a political battle from the very beginning. The Blob library is a modern project which won world contest, and Klaus as a skeptic chosen this building as a means for drawing medial attention to himself. The following merry-go-round turns until now, the opposition leader Jiri Paroubek made Kaplicky his cultural advisor, just to make it clear the thing is political matter indeed.

What is going to be the output of the matter? There are three possible scenarios. 1St – the ODS wins elections – Blob will be build in Brno. 2Nd – the CSSD wins the elections – the Blob will be build as it won the international contest. 3rd Kaplicky gets frustrated and builds it somewhere they want is, e.g. in Edinburgh.

The Blob library will be build after the elections, Paroubek promised to Kaplicky

it may be build after all The leader of CSSD Jiri Paroubek surprisingly offered cooperation to Kaplicky. Kaplicky accepted and he will become the new Paroubek’s advisor for culture. According to the architect, their cooperation will help the never-ending discussion about the National Library construction, and also modern architecture as a whole.

According to Kaplicky, Parouber’s words were the first positive ones about the library he has heard in the last 14 months. Paroubek promised to find up to four billions czk in the state treasury.

“I don’t want to be a bad prophet, but you will probably have to wait for us, mister architect” said Paroubek, and Kapilcky agreed with him. From the moment President Klaus stood against the building, there was no chance it would be build, when ODS is the ruling party.

An interesting remark at the end: At the beginning, Paroubek didn’t care about the library. He started to be an advocate in the moment, Klaus stood in it – and as Paroubek got married again to a very attractive young translator with art feeling, who even started to raise a fund for the library, he became a men who is really into defending the Blob.

Recent pool demonstrated CSSD is probably going to win the next elections. They are going to be in three months.

Paroubek's wife Prepares National collection for Blob

petra-paroubkova-photo-by-impuls It should be a similar event, like when the Czechs in 19th century collected money, under the slogan ‘Nation for Itself’, and built the National Theatre. The idea came from a meeting of Jan Kaplicky, with his wife, and Jiri Paroubek, the leader of CSSD and his wife, Petra Paroubkova. They are considering to make a ‘Blob supportive project’.

The total price of Blob is estimated at three billions czk, which means the collection pool would need every Czech, including the newborn, to donate 300 czk, to finance the building completely. But Paroubkova seems to don’t mind, as she states it would be more like a manifest of solidarity with the project.

“Supermarkets are built here without any troubles. If they would look like Sellfridges in Birmingham by Kaplicky, everything would be fine. But there are no new buildings, which could carry the cultural heritage on.” Paroubkova explained for MF Dnes.