As a UNESCO site, Prague has always been very conservative about construction of new buildings in the historical center, especially on the riverside. However, one architect was successful in the early 90s with the construction of this very modern building, which nowadays ranks among the most significant landmarks of Prague’s riverside.
The story of the Dancing House began in 1944, when Prague was targeted in error by American bombers (they thought they were bombing Dresden). An apartment building, which stood there, received a direct hit by one of the bombs, and therefore needed to be demolished. An empty space was here for decades.
What a lucky coincidence it was, that in late 80s was Václav Havel (the first president of newly reborn Czechoslovakia), lived in a neighboring building and Vlado Milunić (Czech-Slovenian architect) was restoring his flat. During their conversation they talked about an useless empty space right next to his house. That brought the first thoughts of new building, which should fill that void.
It was probably the excitement of this early post-soviet era that allowed this building to be constructed. Everybody was so tired of uniform blocks of flats, which filled up the suburb areas, that they welcomed an idea of something new. Vlado Milunić invited for cooperation well known American architect Frank Gehry. Construction, which took place between 1994 and 1996 was financed by Nationale Nederlanden (financial group later renamed on ING). Dancing House is mostly used as offices; the exception is a small bar on the ground floor and French fine dining restaurant in the top floor.
So if you want to see the building up close and get to know what a cool nickname this building has, ask your guide on our Bike tour across the city.
Dancing House Info:
Address: Jiráskovo náměstí 1981/6, Prague
Map. Ref.: 50.0754700, 14.4141600