The dancing house, built by the Canadian and Czech architects Frank Gehry and Vlado Milunic´, has symbolized hope and progress since it was finished in 1996, when the young republic was freshly formed after many years of communism. The dancing couple, which the house symbolizes, is the first architectural sign of modernism in Prague after 1989.
History of the building
Since 1945 there had been a gap in the Art Nouveau housing facades after a bomb had destroyed the old house. What no one could know at that point, was that the later president Havel lived right next to the gap and planned to build something new there together with Milunic´ long before he became president. Finally, the construction was financed by the Dutch ING Bank and Frank Gehry was hired to cooperate with Milunic´.
The building consists of two parts, whereby one represents dynamic movements and the other one a static sculpture. This is why it resembles a dancing couple: The lady in a dress leans to the gentleman with a hat. For this reason the house is often called “Ginger and Fred” by Prague’s inhabitants, referring to the dancer’s couple Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire.
The Dancing House
The glass part of the house is built from 99 specially crafted pieces and the “hat” symbolizes Medusa`s head. The magazine “The Time” rewarded the house with its design price for the excellent architecture.
On the ground floor as well as in the basement, there are conference rooms, which are rented out. The ground floor also hosts an exhibition, which gives young unknown artists to be in public. The largest part of the house consists of offices for multinational companies. On the top floor there is a French restaurant, which adopted the house’s nickname: Ginger & Fred. From there you have a wonderful view over Prague including the majestic Prague Castle.