Tel Aviv/ Social reasons for the rise of Bauhaus architecture
In 1933, the Bauhaus school was closed down by the Nazis in Berlin and triggered the influx of architects and the international-style architectures in Tel Aviv.
According to the UNESCO, the area of the White City forms its central part and is based on the urban master plan by Patrick Geddes. The German Jewish architects represented the trends of modernism but also considered the local quality of the site.
So why the city needed these international style houses other than vernacular architectures is a question about cultural, geographical, political and social consideration.
In the 1930s, housing was in demand. Functional, economical, quick housing solution was necessary. This social background set the perfect backdrop for the rise of Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv. International style buildings made use of mass production technology and invented the use of cheap building materials. It was a creation of a new form of collective social housing for the working class who were basically the first group of immigrants.
A lack of an acceptably non-Arab architectural vernacular in Tel Aviv provided the necessary space for the full realisation of the Modernism. Between 1931 and 1936, Tel Aviv grew from 46,000 to 140,000 residents in which tens of thousands of middle class, socialist Jewish immigrants looked for new architectural style that could represent their Jewish identities. In addition, the International Style was an ideal style for immigrants from Europe as the familiar Modernism was a comfortable home. Most Bauhaus style architectures in Tel Aviv were private dwellings while there were only 20 social cooperative housing.
The classic Buahaus architecture did not just come in forcefully but were integrated well with local geographical conditions. Since Tel Aviv is a tropical city, the architects realized adaption had to be made to the Middle Eastern climate:
– White and light-color facade to reflect heat
– Small recessed windows replacing large glass
– Protruding slabs and balconies to provide shade for windows
– Flat roofs replacing slanted ones
– Houses raised on piloties to allow sea breeze to flow and cool them
With the smart adaption made to suit the local needs, Bauhaus architecture was well received by the people.
- Des Maisons Sur Le Sable: Tel-Aviv, Mouvement Moderne Et Esprit Bauhaus = Dwelling on the Dunes : Tel Aviv, Modern Movement and Bauhaus Ideals. Paris: Eclat, 2004.
- Bandau, Irmel, and Winfried Nerdinger. Tel Aviv Modern Architecture, 1930-1939. Tübingen: Wasmuth, 1994.
- “White City of Tel-Aviv — the Modern Movement.” – UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Accessed December 20, 2015. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1096.