Architecture with a twist

Frank Gehry’s Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, via 2021-Pixbay

With awkward twists and turns, spectators might have to look twice at the “Dancing House” because, at first glance, the building looks like something from another world.

     Looking over land that was once the site of a bomb attack, the Dancing House’s contorted architecture is incomparable to any other building in the Czech Republic or the world, for that matter. Constructed in 1996, the Dancing House stands to memorialize famous dancers, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The twists and peculiar features of the building symbolize the two legendary performers dancing. 

     Initially, there was controversy surrounding the ethics behind the oddly shaped building because the general public believed it would take the attention away from the more traditional works of art located near the Dancing House. During the Dancing House’s origins, the public petitioned to stop the construction because it seemed out of place in a classical city like Prague. Still, the movement to assemble the building continued because famous architect Frank Gehry led and supported the cause. Gehry believed that post-modern architecture needed to be unique and different from conventional buildings, which is why the Dancing House was his ultimate masterpiece.

“People ask me if I am an artist or architect, but I think they are the same,”

Said frank ghery
Frank Gehry’s Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, via Marie Jolicoeur

     The Dancing House is a complex two-part building, the left side of the tower represents Ginger Rogers, and the right side represents Fred Astaire. The building’s left side displays twisted glass, which portrays Ginger dancing. One-third from the bottom of the building, a spectator can see the glass shoot out sideways with inclined columns jetting out from underneath. The glass flattening out represents Ginger’s skirt, and the columns serve to illustrate her legs. 

     Alongside the contorted glass structure stands the second part of the Dancing House. Constructed purely with concrete, the right side of the building presents as a memorial for Fred Astaire. This part of the building’s most distinct feature is the top of the tower, which has concrete scraps sculpted to appear as Fred’s hair. Fred’s side of the building has incredibly unique window architecture. The windows are non-linear to the ground, meaning the windows stick out towards the street. The feature of non-linear windows broke a barrier in post-modern art because instead of making something appear tri-dimensionally, art can genuinely be built tri-dimensionally.

     The Dancing House symbolizes more than one may think at first glance. It is because of this symbolization that the Dancing House is considered an authentic piece of post-modern art. The two dancers, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers legacies continue past their time with the Dancing  House. 

     Despite the controversy surrounding the Dancing House, it is now widely regarded as an architectural gem of Prague. Home to a restaurant with a 360-degree view of Prague’s magnificent city. The Dancing House offers world-class views within its unique deconstructivist-style building. Architects like Frank Gehry allowed the world of architecture to include structures that differ from the standard design. Still, many artists frown upon the idea of deconstructivism because some believe post-modern art is an eyesore.

     “Most of our cities built since the war are bland. They’re modernist, they’re cold, and now architects want to go back to that,” said Gehry