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Dancing House in Prague - "Ginger and Fred"

The Dancing House is one of the most interesting Prague houses built at the end of the 20 th century. It represents a man and a woman, dancing together. It was regarded as very controversial several years ago, but on the other hand it is one of the most acclaimed modern buildings in Prague: it was awarded the Design of the year 1996 award from the American Time magazine. You can see this extraordinary house at the corner of Jirasek Square and Rasin Quay alongside the river Vltava.

There used to stand a Neo-renaissance house before, but it was demolished by an American air attack in 1945. The space was empty for several decades then. Coincidentally, in the neighbouring house lived the former Czech republic president Vaclav Havel, and he ordered an architectural study of the place from Croatian architect Vlado Milunic. Finally, the Dutch company Nationale Nederlanden bought the place in 1992 and decided to build an administrative centre there.

“Ginger and Fred” dancing on the riverside

Vlado Milunic was asked to invite a world-renowned architect for the project, and he asked the famous Toronto architect and designer Frank O. Gehry. Together they built a dynamically looking building that seems to be dancing on the quay. It represents two dancers Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers – that´s why it´s also called “Ginger and Fred”. The glass tower Ginger bends and clings to the concrete tower Fred, which has a metal cupola on the top, representing hair. The house is an example of a deconstructivist architecture.

Controversial building

Critics of the building pointed out that it doesn´t fit into its surroundings, where various Art Noveau houses can be seen. Also the unusual shape of the building was seen as disputable. But after several years, it is regarded as one of the most interesting Prague buildings from the end of the previous century.

The interior of the Dancing House was partly designed by the London architect of Czech origin Eva Jiricna. There are mostly offices in the nine-storey house, and there is a French restaurant with a beautiful view over Prague at the top.

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