Construction of the Henry Ford Building began in 1952, only a few years after the founding of Freie Universität Berlin in 1948. It was one of the first buildings in Berlin to be newly built for academic purposes after World War II.
After having been used for over 50 years, the Henry Ford Building was completely renovated from 2005 to 2007. Since part of the renovation took place during ongoing operation, it had to be completed in phases. The work started with the exterior (facade, outside facilities, underground pipes) and continued with the interior with its lecture halls, conference rooms, and lobbies.
On April 17, 2007, Freie Universität Berlin celebrated the re-opening of the Henry Ford Building with an open day. The extensive renovation and refurbishment let the architectural jewel of the 1950s appear in a new luster.