Posted by: LM | May 16, 2008

The Dancing House

I have one of those nifty “Stumble Upon” icons in the top left of my internet browser and it’s an admitted addiction of mine to click away at it on a slow afternoon. My stumble button has led me to many interesting things. Since one of the interests I selected when programming my “stumble button” (which is what I will be referring to the icon as from here on out, so you know) was architecture I get lots of funky buildings that pop up. I always enjoy looking at them, but I haven’t seen one that’s made my eyebrows raise as much as “The Dancing House” in Prague did when I first saw it. I think it was in a postcard. Either way, I know the first time I saw it wasn’t in person. I remember looking at the picture thinking “why?” and when I head the explanation I was even more baffled.

So this building may not boggle your mind as much as it does mine. You’re probably looking at it thinking “Oh, common. It’s not that weird looking. I’ve certainly seen stranger.” True, this is no Guggenheim or anything like that, but wait until you hear what that building up there is supposed to look like. Ever heard of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers? If you haven’t, they’re a 50s movie duo. You may have seen them in movies like . In any case, they’re a pretty big deal. Such a big deal, in fact, that some dude used them as inspiration for his building. You don’t see it, right? I didn’t either. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s still a stretch to look at this building and see Fred & Ginger dancing together. It was explained to me that the glass portion of the building is Ginger (notice her full skirt and curvy waist?) and the tall and straight portion is Fred. In other words, he’s the one with the hat (and that hat is a restaurant, by the way). I know this is a little bit odd. Yes, I’m fully aware. But don’t shoot the messenger.

The building was designed by a Czech architect who was actually born in Croatia. His name is Vlado Milunic. He worked with a Canadian architect who I’m sure at least some of you have heard of: Frank Gehry. (If you’re drawing a blank… he’s the guy who actually DID design the Guggenheim in Spain as well as the Disney Concert Hall in LA. Thank you ARTA 205). You’ll be surprised, I’m sure to find out that this building is nothing but glorified office space. Sure it’s for multinational firms, but still, would you expect a building like THAT to be nothing but an office building?

You won’t see this building on any of your romps through Prague. In fact, I’m willing to bet money that if you’re a normal visitor, you won’t see “The Dancing House” at all during your stay unless you take a taxi to and from the airport (but don’t waist your money, the bus is the way to go in that case). If you rent a car or have friends or are particularly prone to wandering off the beaten path maybe you’ll see it. If you seek it out you can find it, but it’s nowhere of interest. More in the residential, non-touristy part of town. Oh, and fun fact. The illustrious Vaclav Havel (first President of the Czech Republic after the fall of Communism in 1989) was raised in a little apartment in the building next to “The Dancing House”. At least that’s the information I was given by my boss on a particularly dull drive to the US Embassy to fill out paperwork


  1. wow.
    thanks, I will definetely see it!

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