Although Tel Aviv was founded in 1909, its real growth and development occured during the 1930s. The architects who created what came to be known as the White City were Jewish graduates of Le Corbusier’s School of International Architecture, founded in Germany in 1919.
The Nazis closed the Le Corbusier’s school shortly after they were elected in 1932; as persecution of the Jews in Germany increased, many of those architects came to Tel Aviv. The city was their blank canvas, and they built the first planned Bauhaus city in history. From 1931-1956, 4,000 Bauhaus buildings were constructed in Tel Aviv; most of them are still standing today.
In 2004, UNESCO declared Tel Aviv a world heritage site.
The city was chosen to be honored by UNESCO not only because of the buildings themselves but also for the city’s original urban design, which was based on an urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes.
“The new town of Tel Aviv is an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century, adapted to the requirements of a particular cultural and geographic context,” a UNESCO statement said.
Bauhaus, or International, style is characterized by asymmetrical composition and regular repetition instead of classic symmetry, and avoidance of all decorations that do not have a useful purpose. The modern style, functional, simple and free of decorations, was seen as the most fitting for a young, rapidly growing city.
The architects and planners who designed Tel Aviv envisioned a city that would be a sort of socialist paradise – a place where working class people could afford spacious, airy apartments that were simultaneously aesthetically pleasing and low in cost.
You can read more about Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv here.
Below are some drawings of Tel Aviv’s classic Bauhaus apartment buildings by artist Sali Arieli. Visit her site to see more examples of her work.
March 19, 2006 at 9:00 am
I love these building and recently the new redone buildings are really beautiful…
March 19, 2006 at 10:19 am
Beautiful blog entry. Thank you.
March 23, 2006 at 1:04 pm
The Bauhaus was founded by Walter Gropius, not
Le Corbusier, and it was not a school of architecture but a school of design which had a dept. of architecture.
Please show more of these buildings!