Architectural tours

30 Years HKW

Sun, Sep 8, 2019
12 noon–7 pm
Meeting point: box office
Free admission

Parts of the tours are held outdoors.

Note for mobility-impaired, blind and visually impaired visitors: The VBB assistance service can be used to get here. Please write to or call +49–(0)30–34649940 to book the service. More information

If you are unaccompanied, we offer an assistance service to or from the bus stop on line 100 and during the tour. Please write to us if you would like to be picked up:

Information on accessibility at HKW
Congress Hall, today Haus der Kulturen der Welt, 1989 , Landesarchiv Berlin/Photo: Hans Scherhaufer

The history of HKW is marked by upheavals, both internal and external, conceptual and substantial. The building, opened in 1958 as Congress Hall, was supposed to communicate a manifesto for freedom of thought and expression in the context of the Cold War. Since 1989, the winged roof of Haus der Kulturen der Welt has inscribed itself into Berlin's cultural and urban landscape.

On the occasion of its 30th anniversary and as part of Tag des offenen Denkmals®, a multilingual program of guided tours allows visitors to experience the building’s iconic architecture. Experts and staff will offer guided tours of the “pregnant oyster,” as Berliners have nicknamed the building, in German, English, and Arabic for new arrivals, transients, long-time residents and families. In addition, a tactile tour will make the house accessible to visitors with and without visual impairment.

12 noon
من قاعة مؤتمرات إلى بيت الثقافات العالمية
Guided tour in Arabic with Lama El Khatib
جولة ارشادية باللغة العربية

كانت قاعة المؤتمرات التي صممها هيو ستوبينز تشع في العالم "كمنارة للحرية". سنكتشف معاً خلال هذه الجولة الارشادية باللغة العربية كيف تحولت قاعة المؤتمرات إلى بيت الثقافات العالمية بعد إعادة اعمار المبنى في أواخر الثمانينات وسوف نناقش كيف تبقى رمزية هذا المبنى التاريخي ملموسة حتى يومنا هذا.

The Congress Hall designed by Hugh Stubbins was meant to radiate into the world as a “beacon of freedom.” In this guided tour in Arabic, it will be explored how the Congress Hall transformed into Haus der Kulturen der Welt after its reconstruction in the late 1980s and how the building’s symbolism continues to be felt today.

1.30 pm
Tactile tour for visitors with and without visual impairment
With Silja Korn and Ariane Pauls, in German

An inclusive tactile tour by two guides who complement each other in their expertise and experience will take guests through HKW. Information about the architecture of the building will be described by Ariane Pauls responded to by Silja Korn, a blind educator who points out tactile possibilities to explore the architecture. The guides’ collaboration creates a participative format on the architecture of the building that can be heard and felt. Anyone can participate.

2.30 pm
Return of the Modern Age
Guided tour in English with Andromachi Marinou-Strohm

Hugh Stubbins’s Congress Hall introduced a new lightness and transparency to West Berlin’s architecture. As a place of free exchange of knowledge and ideas, it aimed to contribute to the democratization of society. But does this concept translate into the architecture? This guided tour in English focuses on the formal idiom of the iconic architecture of the Congress Hall.

4 pm
The House That Lives
Guided family tour in German with Ariane Pauls

On a walk, the unconventional building and its eventful history will be explored. Participants will view the house as a living organism and see whether they can recognize certain body parts and their functions. How did HKW enter the world and how has its life changed since then? Suitable for children aged 8 and upwards.

4.30 pm
The Congress Hall in Tiergarten: Architecture as an Ideological Medium Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Guided tour in German with architectural collective c/o now

Architectures have always functioned as carriers of ideological messages. The Tiergarten’s Congress Hall joins a group of buildings that were part of the architectural arms race of the Cold War. This tour through today’s HKW will probe the coupling of ideology and architecture.

5.30 pm
Symbol, Tragedy, Farce – Happy End: The Moving Architecture of the West Berlin Congress Hall
Guided tour in German with Steffen de Rudder

The Berlin Congress Hall, today’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt, is an unserious building and therefore a genuine rarity in Berlin. It was built in serious times, at the peak of the Cold War, between the Berlin blockade and the construction of the Berlin Wall. On a pathway through the building and the grounds, the guide will explain how the political program of the American founders created architecture of general serenity, why the roof collapsed and why it was rebuilt.

6 pm
From Congress Hall to HKW
Guided tour in German with Alexandra Engel

The building erected by Hugh Stubbins as the West Berlin Congress Hall was designed as a US contribution to the International Building Exhibition in 1957. The tour provides an overview of the design and architecture as well as the programmatic development of the building – starting 1989, where it was founded as Haus der Kulturen der Welt as an eye-opener to the art and culture of the non-European world up to today’s HKW as a house for present-day research and a forum for contemporary arts.