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The House of World Cultures

Official name: Congress Hall
Also known as: The Pregnant Oyster
Built: 1957
Designed by: Hugh Stubbins and Associates
Type: Entertainment Venue
Location: John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10, Tiergarten Park, Berlin, Germany
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T hough billed as a meeting place of cultures from around the world, this building might be more accurately represented as the House of Non-European Cultures. Its focus is on the history and heritage of the cultures of Asia, South America, and Africa as interpreted through stories, music, and art. It is a wonderful resource for the people of Berlin, even if they occasionally refer to the Congress Hall as, “The Pregnant Oyster.” In some senses, the building does resemble a shellfish opening its upper valve to peer at the outside world. The world was much different back in the mid-20th century when the structure was erected. It was part of the International Building Exhibition, and paid for by both the government of the United States, and the government of the City of Berlin. The goal back then, even as now, was to bring people from different cultures together so they may learn to understand each other.

  • The House of World Cultures has its own carillon, built to commemorate the 750th birthday of the City of Berlin. It contains 68 bells.
  • 1980 - The roof partially collapses.
  • 1987 - The roof is rebuilt.

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