• 30.11.2013, 21:00-22:00

Director: Olga Špátová

Editor: Jakub Voves

Sound: Tomáš Kubec

Producer: Eliška Kaplicky-Fuchsová

Free access!

Language: Czech and English with Bulgarian subtitles


There are countries where an architectural project may ignite public passions as intense as at a game of soccer. That’s something we can see in the film on Czech architect and emigrant Jan Kaplicky and his project for the National Library in Prague. It split society in two extreme enemy camps and, in the end, did not come through. Even the president took sides.

Jan Kaplicky emigrated from Czechoslovakia after the Prague Spring in 1968. He settled in London. There he worked at the studio of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, moved on to Norman Foster, and eventually founded his own practice – Future Systems.

Kaplicky’s style in architecture is an emotional mix of organic shapes and high-tech. Some of his most famous projects are the Selfridges Building in Birmingham, the media center at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, the Enzo Ferrari Museum in Modena.  

After the change of the regime Kaplicky won the first international competition in the Czech Republic – the one for the National Library in Prague. The year was 2007. His project scandalized public opinion. The building he proposed had the shape of a green and purple blob, soon to be nicknamed The Octopus. Heated public debate ensued. Politicians had to state in their election platforms if they were for or against The Octopus. The project was subsequently cancelled. The architect died in 2009. Even today there are people who sustain the fight and push for the library to be built.  

Kindly supported by the Czech Center