07 November 2010

Tančící dům (Dancing House in Prague)

Last week's grammar lesson reviewed the comparative and superlative. I quizzed my class by asking relatable questions. "What is the busiest street in your city? What is the nicest beach you've ever been to?" Another was, "What's the ugliest building you've ever seen?" I was amused and surprised by some of the responses to the latter. Many students responded: "The Dancing House" in Prague. The Dancing House is a popular sight in many tourist guidebooks, so why do students think it's ugly? I was determined to investigate.
The building is located at a busy intersection next to the Vltava River. You can see the building bend and dance differently from each corner of the intersection. This modern, anti-symmetrical building draws a lot of attention because of its location amidst the popular Baroque, Gothic, and Art Nouveau buildings nearby. It could be an eyesore if you are accustomed to traditional architecture. I think this is the whole point. The city could have decided to make this corner lot look similar to the other buildings nearby, but instead, they made into a time piece. The modern architecture in the Dancing House is inspiring and representative of the new age and freedoms recently granted to the country after the fall of Communism only a few years before it was designed. To me, the building is dancing to celebrate its existence. The fact that it is able to exist and to celebrate the creativity of its time. It is unique. It is interesting. Call it ugly, but the idea behind the dancing house is beautiful. 

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