Kulturforum, Berlin History of the Kulturforum The idea for a “culture forum” came about after World War II, when the art collections were split up between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin. While East Berlin had the Museum Island as its cultural center, for West Berlin it was decided to create a new center to house its cultural institutions and art collections, the Kulturforum. Architect Hans Bernhard Scharoun devised the plans for the forum and chose the Tiergarten district for its location, which at that time was a barren wasteland ripe for development. The first building to be erected was the Philharmonic Hall, opened in 1963. This unique Expressionist building has been described on the outside as a sort of “nomad tent”, but the interior boasts some of the finest acoustics in the world. This concert hall seats more than 2,000 and boasts a central stage, unusual for an orchestral venue. Next came the Berlin Library of Prussian Cultural Heritage, built between 1967 and 1978, followed closely by the New National Gallery which opened in 1968. The latter, dubbed “the temple of light and glass”, was designed by Mies van der Rohe and houses a fine collection of 20th century European painting and sculpture. The State Institute of Musical Research was erected in the early 1980s as was the Musical Instrument Museum. The museum holds an extensive collection of European musical instruments – big and small – from the 16th to the 21st centuries. The New Hall of Chamber Music (Little Philharmonic Hall) was also added in the late 1980s and provides a more intimate concert venue.turkeyarena.com The Kulturforum was expanded even more in the 1990s with the construction of the Kupferstichkabinett (graphic arts museum), Kunstbibliothek (art library) and Gemälderie (museum of fine arts). St. Matthäus Church At the center of all these modern buildings stands the 19th century St.- Matthäus- Kirche, the only historic building restored after the war. The italianesque brick church was originally built between 1844 and 1846 after a design by Friedrich August Stüler and Herbert Wentzel.