The Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the Cultures of the World) is an arts venue, exhibition and cultural centre which has been operating since 1989. Situated in the Tiergarten area, between the park's green meadows and the banks of the Spree, its varied all-year-round programme includes exhibitions, talks, lectures and seminars, concerts and festivals. Its mission is to bring to Berliners an authentic, consistent fare of challenging, contemporary art and culture from around the world.
The building was given as an American gift to former West Berlin
Formerly known as Kongresshalle (Congress Hall) the HKW is a well-known, easily spottable Berlin landmark, largely because of the extravagance of its roof structure. In 1957 Interbau, an architecture exhibition brought international talent and new architectural visions to West Berlin. The Congress House, given as an American gift to West Berlin, was US architect Hugh Stubbins' contribution to the exhibition and was regarded as a technically revolutionary as well as creatively brilliant achievement. Its highly original parabolic roof was nicknamed – and known ever since - as the "Pregnant Oyster". Titanic in its originality, the technological possibilities at the time were not up to the vision and the roof collapsed in 1980.
Haus der Kulturen der Welt is a film screening venue during the Berlinale
The roof is supported by steel anchors at two points. Three levels accommodate a large reception hall, a cafeteria, a 400 seat theatre auditorium and additional rooms where seminars and talks take place. A huge auditorium seating 1250, has state-of-the art projection facilities and is a film screening venue during the International Film Festival Berlinale each February.
Henry Moore sculpture and Carillon at Haus der Kulturen der Welt
Not to be missed is Henry Moore's sculpture "Divided Oval: Butterfly" which sits in the large artificial pond between the centre's main entrance lobby and the Tiergarten across the road. The Carillon nearby – the largest in Europe, plays computerized concerts daily at 12.00 noon and 6.00 pm from a 68-bell ensemble.
In the warmer months the two-storey restaurant on the river Spree, which meanders through the city, provides an ideal, shaded resting-spot to snack and relax by the waterside while watching the tour boats floating past.