RFE/RL's Charles Dameron profiled Prague’s whimsical landmark, Dancing House, in "The Wall Street Journal" on June 8. Dameron’s article shows how the building, a jaunty depiction of a dancing couple, was created during a time of newly achieved freedom in what is today the Czech Republic, and offers a vivid description of the dancing duo's postmodern design.
An excerpt of the article can be found below. Or read the original
from “The Wall Street Journal” website.
Out Together, Dancing Czech to Czech
Charles S. Dameron | The Wall Street Journal
June 8, 2012
In August 1990 at the invitation of Vaclav Havel, Czechoslovakia's recently elected playwright-president, the Rolling Stones came to Prague. More than 100,000 Czechs turned out in the rain for this watershed event, a shock of electricity for a nation whose energies had long been suppressed by a dour Communist regime. Promotional posters for the concert read, "The Rolling Stones roll in, the Soviet army rolls out.
Prague's fresh start was at the forefront of his mind when, one month later, a local architect named Vlado Milunić submitted his design for a new art gallery commissioned by President Havel. The gallery was to occupy a prominent location along the Vltava River, on a corner looking up toward Prague Castle, home to Bohemia's rulers for more than a millennium.
"Charged with internal energy, the building is bursting at its seams," Mr. Milunić wrote in his proposal. "The terrace protrudes like the tongue of the Rolling Stones logo stuck out towards…the Castle." His accompanying sketch included a doodle of the iconic tongue in an upper corner of the page.
The architect knew his client. President Havel, the former political prisoner who famously inaugurated his time as the castle's chief resident by riding through it on a scooter, loved the proposal. Mr. Milunić won the commission.
Thus was born the concept for what would become Dancing House, Prague's postmodern masterpiece designed in partnership by Frank Gehry and Mr. Milunić. With Dancing House, Messrs. Gehry and Milunić succeeded in giving architectural form to Czechoslovakia's Velvet Revolution, marking a singular moment of national transition and celebration. [READ MORE]