Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, has ravishing historical sites and one among them is this Dancing Tower, which is also known as Nationale Nederlanden building, a highly original building resembling and also inspired by two dancers – the immortally famous duo of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It was originally outlined by the Croatian architect Vlado Milunic in collaboration with Frank Gehry to resemble the dancing duo (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers).
The building was instructed by The President Vaclav Havel to represent the recent salvation of Czechoslovakia from the Soviet Union, considering it as a moment of national transition and celebration. When it was completed in 1996, it was under controversy for its delicate design which stood out from rest of the structures styled with Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau.
Gist on its architecture:
The dancing tower represents the duo and it has two towers interconnected to each other. A concrete cylinder with pop-out windows topped with a bird’s nest-shaped mesh structure represents Astaire and Rogers is represented by a billowing glass structure that curves away from Astaire with spindly concrete legs fixed to the pavement.
The “Dancing House” is set on a property of great historical significance. In its place, a house was destroyed by a bomb during live World War II. The neighbouring plot was co-owned by Czech ex-president Vaclav Havel. Havel spent his childhood next door and eventually decided to have a survey taken of the site by future designer Vlado Milunic, hoping for it to be the site of a cultural centre and ING bank agreed to sponsor the idea. Milunic as the lead designer (as decided by the bank) was asked to accompany himself with one more world-class architect. Jean Nouvel turned down the idea because of the minute square footage. Well, known American architect, Frank Gehry accepted the invitation.
99 concrete panels support the “dancing” shape, each being in different shape and dimension. The Dancing House has two central bodies. The first is a tower of glass that is close to half height and is supported by curved pillars, the second runs parallel to the river, which is characterized by the mouldings that follow a wavy motion and distributed through the windows so the non-aligned. This solution has been brought in mainly by a kind of aesthetic consideration: the windows lined evidence that the building has two windows, although they have the same height as the two adjacent buildings of the nineteenth century. On the top of the building is a large twisted structure of metal nicknamed “Medusa”.
They also don’t have to be perceived in the will of the designer, as simple forms on a flat surface, but must achieve the effect of three-dimensionality, hence the idea of frames as outgoing frames of paintings. Also, the winding mouldings on the facade make it more confusing perspective, diminishing the contrast with the buildings that surround it.”
The tower is a New-baroque to the designers. These kinds of deconstructivist architecture are usually found in Prague. The building currently hosts conference rooms, a restaurant and a bar on the top two floors. Today architects look at it being a postmodernist architecture and an example is set by the tower as well.