THE BEST DESIGN OF 1996

1 NATIONALE NEDERLANDEN BUILDING: A structure as playful as this deserves a nickname. And Frank Gehry and Croatian-born architect Vladimir Milunic's new building on the banks of the Vltava River in Prague has one. It's called Fred and Ginger, after its twin towers: one flirty and curvilinear, the other solid and upright. The staggered windows and rippled riverfront facade reflect the adjacent row houses even as the building stands apart from the rest of the city. Using some local construction techniques combined with sophisticated three-dimensional computer modeling, the two architects maintained consistency with the surrounding buildings but added Gehry's signature whimsy....

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