As long as there are houses where culture lives, we’re fine.
[Part I] … The former “Zeltenplatz” square by the river Spree in West Berlin, was chosen as the building site for the house of world cultures. To ensure its contours would be clearly seen from Communist-ruled East Berlin, the Congress Hall was erected on an artificial mound. Back then, both systems tried to excel each other on all fronts but particularly the architectural one, behaving like children in a sandbox.
Stubbins described the symbolic value of his architectural design as ‘completely free’. The curves of the roof – which show a striking resemblance to that of wings or a clam – seamlessly continue on the interior and provide for an open and bright lobby, revoking again a feeling of endless freedom.
In Stubbins’s view, the design upheld the promise that there would be no restrictions on the freedom of intellectual work in this building – a political vision shared by the Benjamin Franklin Foundation, which commissioned the building.