Located on the avenue Unter den Linden, surrounded by historic buildings such as the State Opera, the State Library and the Berlin Palace, the Palais des Prinzen Heinrich served as a city palace for the Hohenzollerns in the first decades after its completion in 1753. Johann Boumann designed the late Baroque building with its U-shape in close collaboration with the Prussian King Frederick II. However, King Frederick William III dedicated the palace to Berlin University, which was founded in 1809.
Over the course of the 19th century, the interior was adapted to the requirements of the university and further extensions were added to the north, resulting in the U-shape we know today. Friedrich Wilhelm University also fell victim to the Second World War and the bombing of Berlin. Between 1947 and 1962, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in East Berlin was rebuilt in the style of the historic building. The façade was reconstructed with great attention to detail, while the interior was kept simple and adapted to the requirements of a modern university building.
The Lichthof Ost, which the Kleine Humboldt Galerie repeatedly uses as an exhibition space, was also created in the course of this. Visitors cross the main entrance on the Unter den Linden side with the imposing central building towards the east wing. Once there, the atrium is located in the southern section. Large glazed doors lead to the exhibition space. The completely glazed, vaulted ceiling provides the room with daylight throughout. In addition, generous ceiling lights provide constant illumination of the works of art. In addition, the white walls and the light-colored stone floor in a checkerboard pattern accentuate the works of art. Nevertheless, due to its dimensions and history, the bright atrium is always a challenge for the realization of contemporary exhibitions.