Dancing House

Dancing House Photography Guide

Blast wave by AG PHOTOGRAPHE
Dancing house as seen from across the crossroad
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The Dancing House (Czech: Tančící dům) is the nickname given to the Nationale-Nederlanden building on the Rašínovo nábřeží (Rašín Embankment) in Prague, Czech Republic. It was designed by the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić in cooperation with Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry on a vacant riverfront plot. The building was designed in 1992 and completed in 1996.

The very non-traditional design was controversial at the time because the house stands out among the Baroque, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings for which Prague is famous, and in the opinion of some it does not accord well with these architectural styles. The then Czech president, Václav Havel, who lived for decades next to the site, had avidly supported this project, hoping that the building would become a center of cultural activity.

Gehry originally named the house Fred and Ginger (after the famous dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers – the house resembles a pair of dancers) but this nickname is now rarely used; moreover, Gehry himself was later "afraid to import American Hollywood kitsch to Prague", and thus discarded his own idea. (source: Wikipedia)


The house looks best and is most often photographed from the pavement diagonally across the crossroad that's right in front of the house. Long exposure is often used to blur the traffic in front of the Dancing House, which is often dominated by a tram. A strong neutral filter would be needed for this purpose in a daylight, but isn't needed for night photography.

While the house can be seem from other angles, e.g. across the Vltava river, it no longer has the 'pair of dancers' look and so usually isn't the primary target for compositions from other locations.

Written by Jiri Hajek

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