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Bauhaus in Tel Aviv

Architecture in Israel

This post is about Bauhaus in Tel Aviv. In our post, we would explore five buildings worth seeing in the city that never sleeps. Firstly, Allow me to welcome you to Tel Aviv and to take you on a private tour. So today we will explore the White City: The term refers to a collection of over 4,000 buildings built in a unique form of the International Style in Tel Aviv from the 1930s with a strong Bauhaus component; by Jewish architects immigrating from Europe to the British Mandate of Palestine after the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany.

Tel Aviv has the largest number of buildings in the Bauhaus/International Style of any city in the world. In 2003, UNESCO proclaimed Tel Aviv’s White City a World Cultural Heritage Site. The buildings were designed by these architects, and by architects born locally including Ben-Ami Shulman, who put the principles of modern architecture into practice.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: Adaptation to Local Climate

However, the architecture had to be adapted to suit the extremes of the Mediterranean and desert climate. In other words, white and light colors reflected the heat. Also, the walls not only provided privacy but protected against the sun.

On the contrary, large areas of glass that let in the light; a key element of the Bauhaus style in Europe; were replaced with small recessed windows that limited the heat and glare. Lastly, Long, narrow balconies, each shaded by the balcony above it; allowed residents to catch the breeze blowing in from the sea to the west. And to top it all pitched roofs were replaced with flat ones, providing a common area where residents could socialize in the cool of the evening.

Colonial Architecture in Israel

Architecture of Israel

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: Dizengoff 96-94

Truly a gem in Tel Aviv! Built by the first chief engineer of Tel Aviv, Yehuda Magidovitch. His first buildings in the 1920s were eclectic style, but beginning in the early 1930’s he started moving towards Art Deco. His first International style designs from 1934 retained a personal artistic expression.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: A Building With a Story From the Movie Theatres

In the late 1930’s the owners of the building established here a movie theater. One of the very firsts built in Tel Aviv. They decided to name it Esther honoring the wife, Esther Nathaniel. In fact, the theatre was one of the very first public buildings in young Tel Aviv to use Air Conditioning. And it was able to accommodate up to 1,000 spectators! So do you want to guess what was the very first film screened here? Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: From a Movie Theatre to a Hotel

In 1998 the descendants of the original owners converted the theatre into a hotel. In fact, it became the very first boutique hotel ever built in Israel. The hotel was designed to tell the story of Cinema Esther and the architecture of the Bauhaus. So both of the facades facing the street and its internal parts answered to the most strict conservation process.

As a result, the lobby of the entrance and the staircase of the former cinema was repaired: Including the original brass and copper lighting was rehung; the decorative railing and the hand-held curving up the stairs; the original Belgian windows and the “Soon To Be Screened” display windows remained.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: Hayarkon 96

Firstly, the building is a composition of old and new. Secondly, the original building was constructed in 1935 by architect Pinchas Bieżoński (1885–1992), shaped like the letter “ח” in Hebrew, surrounding a long front yard. One of the entrepreneurs, and his family, lived there themselves between 1940’d and the 1970’s. One of the building residents was the Chop family whose supported the Palmach organization. As a result, they aided the clandestine military organization by hiding Yigal Alon from the British who used to meet in a nearby social club.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: Jacobson’s Building – Levontin & Mikveh Israel Street

The building was built according to the International style during the years 1936-1938 for Zalman Jacobson. He was a known activist in the Zionist movement; also he was one of the founders of the orchard industry in Israel. He and his family decided in 1891 to come to Israel. His parents decided to settle in Rehovot, a Jewish colony at the time; and were among the first founders.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: Liebling Haus  – Idelson 29 Street

This is a very important building in Tel Aviv. The building was built by Tony and Max Liebling in 1936; it was designed by the architect Dov Karmi with clear characteristics of the international style.

Bauhaus in Tel Aviv: Pagoda House – Nachmani St 12-20

So just to compare the Bauhaus style with something else you can find in Tel Aviv. I want to present to you the Pagoda House is an Eclectic Style building in Tel Aviv. The house was built during the architectural boom of the 1920s, combining Oriental and Western-style elements. It was the first private residence in Tel-Aviv to have an elevator. In fact, it was installed to accommodate the Polish ambassador who resided on the third floor.

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Hi! My name is Arik Haglili, an Israeli native who decided to dedicate his life to share my knowledge about the Holy Land to those that are interested to know more about this amazing piece of land. My career as a private tour guide started at the International School For the Studying of the Holocaust and the rest is history. 

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Tel Aviv Museum of Art


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