The White City Of Tel Aviv, Israel
“Less is more.” Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe
Over 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings were constructed in Tel Aviv between 1920 and 1940, by German-Jewish architects who immigrated to the region after the rise of the Nazis.
The Bauhaus Movement was started by Walter Gropius in Germany in 1919 as an architectural style that would represent the machine age. It is characterized by simple and sensible lines. “Form follows function.”“Bauhaus” is an inversion of the German term “hausbau,” which means “building house”. It is also called the Modern or International style.
The majority of Tel Aviv’s examples can be found in the central White City – a UNESCO World Heritage Site protected as “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century”. it is the world’s largest Bauhaus settlement.
The Bauhaus Center Tel Aviv http://www.bauhaus-center.com/ was founded in the area in 2000 to increase awareness of the heritage and encourage preservation works. It hosts a library, a shop and a gallery for exhibitions. They offer architectural tours for visitors and enthusiasts on Friday mornings at 10AM. They also offer a self-guided audio tour and private tours in Hebrew, English, Russian, German, French and Italian.
The tour was crowded. First we were given an overview and background of the Bauhaus movement in Israel at the Center, We walked around the streets and boulevards and our tour guide pointed out facades and details of the many white modern buildings. My friends thought it was interesting to take a tour of their neighborhood as they live in a protected building and hadn’t seen it this way before.
A little known fact was that in the early years before World War Two, the immigrants to Israel were allowed to take their money out if they bought German products with it. Some of the buildings are made with German materials.
Germany is now committed to help Israel keep an architectural legacy that recalls Jewish design pioneers who fled the Nazi regime in the 1930s. They will invest $3.2 million over the coming nine years to help save these Bauhaus-style buildings .
The tour is an interesting introduction to the city of Tel Aviv and a sharp contrast to the Ottoman inspired and ancient buildings of Jaffa nearby. I highly recommend this tour for anyone who is interesting in architecture or history. I’m a Bauhaus fan and learned a lot here and saw more Bauhaus architecture than in Berlin.