Dancing House Building, Prague by Frank Owen Gehry
The Dancing House is the name given to Nationale – Nederlanden building which is located at Jiráskovo nám. 1981/6, 120 00 Praha 2, Czech Republic and is also known by nickname Fred and Ginger. It was architect Frank Gehry who originally named it Fred and ginger after two famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
The structural design is quite unique and different from Gehry’s other designs. The architecture of the building is designed as such that the structure resembles a pair of dancers. The dancing house was constructed between 1992-1996 and Gehry was able to create a building which was never seen before.
Tančící dům or Dancing house was built and designed in 1922-1996, this house was destroyed during air bombing on Prague on 14th Feb 1945. After the destruction of the whole site, the land was brought by Netherlands insurance company, Nationale Netherland. The building project was later approached to famous architect Vlado Milunic along with Frank O Gehry.
As he was only invited to corporate, with his cooperation both the architect’s design the plan and section of the building and bring their thoughts into reality. This deconstructivist type architecture was built wth plastic elements which harmonize with the sound of surroundings.
The building can be viewed as a couple dancing where the male part of a dancing couple is represented by rock, which symbolizes power and strength whereas the other female counterpart is symbolized as a tower of glass representing fragile and soft.
In the year of 1996, this famous architecture won the category of best design from American time magazine. Frank O. Gehry first designed the plan and section of the building which was little difficult but after completing the design, the building construction took 4 years to complete.
The design was very nontraditional and controversial at the time of construction because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous. As this architect building does not accord with the older architectural styles, it was always been a topic of controversy.
Later, the structure and design were supported by Czech President, Vaclav Havel, hoping that this can become a center of cultural activity for tourists. Vaclav Havel became the popular leader and along with his authority, he helped in construction and idea to grow rapidly. This cultural center is recognized as one of the most famous architectures of Prague.
Due to unusual shape and design, Dancing House comes into the style of deconstructivist architecture. It is supported by 99 concrete panels having different shapes. Medusa is a large twisted structure of metal located on the top of the building. The tower of glass is close to half the height of the building and it is supported by curved pillars whereas the second building attached to this runs parallel to the river having molds which follow wavy motion.
All the windows are not aligned due to the wavy motion of molds which is quite unique and interesting. Gehry designed the structure of the building along with his partner which was unique and one of its type. As the windows were non-aligned, the solution was driven mainly by kind of aesthetic consideration: the height of two adjacent building is kept same solving the problem of non-alignment of windows.The windows moldings on the facade make the view of building more confusing, diminishing the contrast with its surrounding buildings.
For 10 years, due to its unusual shape, design and structure dancing house was a topic of debate for the people of Prague. In 2005 Czech National Bank finally issued a gold coin as a motive of Dancing house, giving it name as final coin of series “10 Centuries of Modern Architecture”
After this, the controversies were reduced and later this architectural building came to be recognized for cultural growth. The top floor of the building has a restaurant, commonly known as Dancing House restaurant or Ginger & Fred restaurant in Prague.