Dancing House (“Tančící dům” in Czech) is one of the most famous modern architecture works in Prague.
If you’ve ever been to Prague or read any tourist guide about the capital of the Czech Republic, you know the building called the Dancing House or also Fred and Ginger. The name you probably don’t know is the official one – Nationale Nederlanden Building. It’s probably the most famous piece of modern architecture in Prague and an undisputed tourist attraction. It’s a building on Rašínovo nábřeží made partially from glass and very noticeable for it’s irregular form. It’s the form that gives the impression of a dancing couple.
It ranked 9th in the Daily Mail’s list of the Most beautiful buildings in the world according to science and the golden ratio. In 1997, Dancing House won Time magazine’s design contest.
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History of the Dancing House
The building was designed by Vlado Milunić, Czech architect of Croatian descent, and the American-Canadian architect Frank O. Gehry. The designated place was originally a constructed area, until the block of apartments standing here was destroyed by a US-bomb in 1945. The permit to build up the gap was issued in the 1960s, however, the idea lay dormant until the 1990s when Vlado Milunić revived it in his talks with the then president Václav Havel who lived next door. The style of the work was supposed to be quite different, however, it didn’t spark the interest of the investors.
One original element was maintained though – the part of the building that leans over the intersection. Milunić came up with it as symbolism of the Czech society after the Velvet Revolution and its movement forward. The investors brought Frank Gehry to the team, he supposedly said that he would “do anything for the country that gave America Jaromír Jágr“.
The first stone of the building was laid on the 3rd of September 1994 on a terrain which had been bought by the Dutch insurance company Nationale Niederlanden. The works were finished in 1996 and the building has been in use since the 20th of June of the same year.
Purpose of the Dancing House
The Dancing House serves commercial purposes. There are nine floors from which six are used as office space. The highest floor houses a restaurant of 679 square meters. The rest are conference spaces, lobby and hotel.
Nowadays, the house is owned by a company called PSN, is partially open to the public and hosts cultural events.
The house was built in the after-revolution euphoria, in the 1990s which was an era when old rules seized to exist and many new rules hadn’t been established yet which made it the perfect time to try new things. Needless to say such a project would probably not be approved today as there are strict rules regarding the preservation of the historical panorama.
The supporters saw the Dancing House as a step towards the modern world and the opponents pointed out the fact that the building broke the historical view.
Hotel in the Dancing House
If you’d like to stay in the Dancing House, you can! There’s the Dancing House – Tančící dům hotel from which you can view the Prague river Vltava, enjoy delicious breakfast and easily walk to the Charles Bridge or Wenceslas Square.
Featured picture: https://www.prague.eu/