Designed in 1957 by the American architect Hugh Stubbins and engineer Fred Severud as a gift from the United States. John F. Kennedy spoke here during his June 1963 visit to West Berlin. On May 21, 1980 the roof collapsed killing one and injuring numerous people. The hall was rebuilt in its original style and reopened in 1987 in time for the 750 year anniversary of the founding of Berlin.
To Berliners it is also known as the Schwangere Auster “pregnant oyster”.