Dancing House - Prague's stylishest building is also a hotel.
Prague is absolutely one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Its abundant beauty is not only related to the variety of architecture styles (Gothic; Art- Nouveau and Baroque) but also to natural elements such as wild swans that gracefully float along the Vltava River at sunset. Wherever you step in; a restaurant, a bar, a pizzeria... no matter, you will feel embraced. Czech citizens speak Czech, German and English (especially the young crowd). Even though Prague's touristic appeal brings thousands of tourists every year, it is a very affordable city and doesn't give off any feelings of greediness at its core. Food and fun are affordable here. One of the simplest and most exuberant things to do in Prague is walking along the Vltava River. Cross Charles Bridge, enjoy old town, check out the Astronomical clock and do not skip the "Dancing Building"! It's a masterpiece and a must see. If you love architecture, design, art, photography or even if you are just a visual person, you will have a great time when you see this building because it's just so cool! It's also easy to spot as it's located in Old Town and it's also a hotel. The building was designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry (the same architect that designed Disney Opera Hall in Downtown Los Angeles). The Dancing House was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996. The building design was controversial at the time because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous. However, then-Czech president Václav Havel (who also lives nearby) gave all of his support hoping that the building would become a center of cultural activity. It turned out to be a great decision to support the project since designers, architects, artists, and enthusiasts from all around the world are drawn in flocks to see "Fred and Ginger", a nickname given by Gehry as the building resembles a pair of dancers. The nickname is not commonly used but refers to famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Dancin' Dancin' Dancin' Building....
Prague is a city crammed with jaw-droppingly beautiful buildings. Most of which is pre-20th century—Gothic and Baroque-era structures, for example. The 20th century, though, has little to represent itself architecturally, save for a few Art Deco and intriguing Cubist buildings. But then there's the Dancing House (or "Fred and Ginger," as it's nicknamed) which was built in 1995. Designed by Frank Gehry and Croatian Vlado Milunic, the Dancing House was built on an empty plot of land where a stray WWII missile had taken out a building, one of the few structures in Prague that was damaged during the war.
By David Farley, AFAR Contributor
Pose for pictures in front of Prague's Dancing House
Architecture buffs will adore this quirky deconstructivist building on the banks of the Rasin, within easy walking distance of Prague's Old Town. Designed by Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunic and Frank Gehry, the Dancing House, sometimes called Fred and Ginger, is particularly notable in this city famous for Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture. The building isn't open to the public, but if you must see the inside, you can take the elevator up to La Perle de Prague on the 7th floor for a (pricey for Prague) French meal with spectacular views of the city. The nearest underground station is Karlovo namesti.
By Chris Ciolli, AFAR Local Expert
The Dancing House was designed by the architects Vlado Milunić and Frank Gehry. The building starkly contrasts from the surrounding Gothic, Baroque, and Art Nouveau structures. Although modern in appearance, the Dancing House is defined by history: it was built on a site that was air raided by the United States in 1945, and neighbors an area that Václav Havel's family owned during the Communist era. Gehry initially named the building "Fred and Ginger" after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, but afraid of importing American kitsch, decided to stick with the "Dancing House" instead.
Stumbling on a graceful building
We'd heard about this building while researching Prague, but had forgotten about it until we went one tram stop too far on the way to Wenceslas Square. Commonly called the "dancing building" or "Fred and Ginger" in homage to Astaire and Rogers, the unique design by California architect Frank Gehry is not universally loved. One critic said it reminded him of a crushed Coke can and was an affront to the classic styles for which the city is known. He was particularly upset that Gehry had "left his scent" in a highly visible spot overlooking the Vlatava river that was destroyed by a stray U.S. bomb in the closing days of World War II. We thought it was striking and an interesting contrast to the traditional statue across the street. And given the startling contrast of architectural styles throughout Prague, it really doesn't seem out of place.
By Ron Bartizek
Jiráskovo nám. 1981/6, 120 00 Praha 2-Nové Město, Czechia
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