Originally built for the Ministry of Foreign Trade after a design by Josef Sakař in 1920–1922, the first floor of the building was encased in a massive wall during the Protectorate. Similar measures were applied to many buildings in Prague, for example the astronomical clock or around sculptures in the interior of St Vitus Cathedral. In the case of the ministry, the building was not protected for its architectural value but rather for the institution that resided in it. It is unknown when the picture was taken – whether it was after the war had ended or still during the Protectorate.
The building was designed in the style of Neo-Classicism, as a part of the regulations of the so-called Rejdiště (ship dock), the area between Charles Bridge and Čech Bridge “which, beginning in the 1870s, was slowly changed into a monumental city quarter copying the Ringstrasse in Vienna”. According to the historian of architecture Rostislav Švácha “the building represents a valuable example of the most conservative tendencies in architecture of the 1920s in Prague”. Its layout draws on the approach used by the architect Josef Schulz in the building of the National Museum.
Since the 1950s the building has been used by the Faculty of Nuclear and Physical Engineering of the Technical University, earlier it was also used by the art historical department of Charles University, where significant art historians such as Vojtěch Birnbaum, Josef Cibulka, Antonín Matějček and Karel Chytil used to teach.