Marylebone Cricket Club January 16, 2009

Media centre architect dies aged 71

Cricinfo staff

The Lord's Media Centre: A grand design © MCC/CS

Jan Kaplický, the Czech architect who designed the futuristic media centre at Lord's, has died aged 71.

What started out as a hugely controversial project at the most venerated cricket ground in the world has long since been accepted as a stunning addition to the venue's varied architectural styles.

Kaplický's eclectic style also realised the iceberg-shaped Selfridges department store in Birmingham, as well as a host of unbuilt ideas including, according to his obituary in the Guardian, a phallic pink skyscraper, twice as high as New York's World Trade Centre.

Few could have imagined that the traditionally-minded MCC could have got involved with such a radical thinker, but nevertheless, they commissioned his company, Future Systems, to design and build the spaceship-shaped media centre in time for the 1999 World Cup.

Constructed in two shipyards and costing £5.8 million, the world's first all-aluminium, semi-monocoque building almost bankrupted Kaplický and his partner, Amanda Levete. But in 1999, the project deservedly won the prestigious Stirling Architecture prize, as well as a host of plaudits from a newly convinced press.