A House, A Home
All images are author's unless otherwise noted
The Haus der Kulturen der Welt, House of World Cultures, is a public forum created in the 1950s on a site with a deep history. In the 17th Century, the area was used for game preserves and later as pleasure grounds for Brandenburg nobility. This area was already associated with debate and discussion after the March Revolution of 1848. Constructed as a congress hall in the 1950s, the building housed exhibitions, international conferences, and culture events from 1956-1980 (in 1980 the building's roof collapsed). Then, in 1989, the building was given a second life as a conference and culture center.
The Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) takes Benjamin Franklin to be a patron saint due to his advocation for freedom, and the following quote is engraved in the side of the Haus: "God grant that not only the love of liberty, but a thorough knowledge of the rights of man may pervade all nations of the earth so that a philosopher may set his foot anywhere on its surface and say 'this is my country'".
In addition to its devotion towards free and open dialogue, HKW derives its sustainable character from many events hosted to bring environmental issues to the table. Most recently, HKW hosted the Anthropocene Project over the course of the last year which brought together countless academics for a series of fascinating presentations and exhibits seeking to define the Anthropocene and discuss issues it presents. The impact this project had on visitors, forcing them to confront the challenges of our era, shows very clearly the power of a space to influence our behavior. A forum for the world's cultures, Haus der Kulturen der Welt is an important space to help unite sustainability.