Originally referred as ‘Fred and Ginger’ (after the iconic dance partners- Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) by Canadian architect Frank Gehry, this office building in downtown Prague, Czech Republic became popular because of its non-traditional design. However, this name is now rarely used as architect Gehry himself discarded the idea of importing American Hollywood kitsch to Prague.
Gehry designed this building in partnership with Croatian-born Czech architect Vlado Milunic. Some residents, who were in opposition, named it “The Drunk House”. Though the building was controversial at the time, it was avidly supported by Czech president Václav Havel. He believed that the building would become a hub of cultural activity.
Started in 1994 and completed in 1996, the building represents visual gestures and forms. It has a figurative quality. The straight male form attached to the curvy female one that creates the two segments of the building.
The edifice stands out among the Gothic, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Baroque and Art Nouveau buildings for which the city is famous. Around 99 concrete panels, each with a distinct shape and dimension, support the dancing shape of the building. A sizeable twisted metal structure, known as Mary, creates the top of the building.
A British architect- Eva Jiricná designed most of the interior, which covers 3,796 SqM, of the building. The building also has an art gallery. Also, it has a glass bar on the eighth floor. The building has several multinational offices and a French Restaurant-"La Perle de Prague” on the roof.
It was designed on a vacant riverfront plot where the previous building had been destroyed during the bombing of Prague in 1945 (World War II). The place was revived after 30 years in the presidency of Václav Havel, whose family had lived on the block almost for decades.
The building has a walking distance from the Karlovo Namesti underground station. Although this building has offices only, you can visit the restaurant and lobby on the 7th floor, which has an amazing and panoramic view of the Vltava River and Prague Castle. This is a beautiful restaurant with an outdoor rooftop patio where you can click a few good selfies and photographs with your companions. In 1997, the Dancing House also became the winner of Time Magazine’s design contest.
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