haus der kulturen der welt (house of world cultures) is a landmark mid-century modern monument and of my favourite architectural highlights of berlin. and that's putting it mildly. i think i'm probably in love with that building. berliners, who have nicknames for almost all famous sights in the city, call it 'the pregnant oyster'. and it does have quite a dramatic, curving silhouette.
the building was designed by american architect hugh stubbins as american contribution to 'interbau 1957', a watershed post-war building exhibition in berlin, for which architects like le corbusier, alvar aalto and others planned and completed architectural projects. originally used as a congress hall, today the house of world cultures hosts a wide array of exhibitions and events, creating a platform for non-european art and culture in berlin. the programme is varied and ranges from art shows to concerts, film screenings, panel discussions and other media events. check out their website for events, further information on the history of the building and their mission statement. there's bound to be something worth seeing at any one time.
the house of world cultures also has a small bookshop and a café. in the summer months, you can sit outside - from the terrace you can see the boats on the river spree go past. and maybe you'd like to go for a walk in the tiergarten park. it's also easy to walk from here to the reichstag or brandenburg gate if you have plans to do so (i reckon a 15-20 min walk).
find it on john-foster-dulles-allee 10, 10557 berlin (tiergarten), phone (box office) 030-39 78 71 75, open mon-sun 10.00-19.00 h (exhibitions wed-mon 11.00-19.00h), for events see their programme