Tel Aviv/ Ideological influences in the shaping of uniqe Bauhaus Style
Following the waves of immigration of the middle classes of Jaffa to Tel Aviv, some new generation Jews were attracted to Europe to pursue their studies in the 1920s. These groups of Jews admired the architectural academic trainings provided by the schools that the knowledge was lacked in their land, especially in the newly established city, Tel Aviv, and hoped to ameliorate the city’s building standard from the education. Adding to the fact that it was when the crisis of bankruptcies came, this substantiated the Jews to leave the country and seek for opportunities in a better country.
The foreign study period of the Jews was when they started to contact with and know about the Bauhaus Style, the modern architecture that is prevailing in worldwide. Since the style is also at its young age, the students were able to absorb the principles and ideology of the style from the founders and leaders, e.g. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This has initiated their knowledge about functionalism, rationalism and ornamentation less. The kind of clarity, simplicity and functionality has intrigued the Jewish students, and that the influence was great that they were determined to apply the concept into the later design and planning in their own city.
On the other hand, Le Corbusier in Paris was also a contributing factor to the establishment of modernist architecture in the Jewish minds. The famous theory of Le Corbusier’s — “five points of architecture” was widely known around the world that it attracted different young architects and students including the Jewish students, and were influenced by it. The notion raised in this theory is similar yet a more clear set of instructions to what the Bauhaus school taught, putting also an emphasis on the quality of life and well-being.
The Jewish architect in Europe could have built architectures there, conducting their experiments with the intimate culture, instead, under the socio-political change, they could not as they were expelled for being Jews and desired for a cultural revolution. This was particularly serious in Germany.
In 1933, the Bauhaus school was closed by the Nazis, and that the Jewish students returned to Tel Aviv; the remaining architects studied in other parts of Europe returned subsequently in mid-1930s. Their return was the beginning of the actualisation of their architectural studies, and the basis of the city’s Bauhaus Style history. After the arrival of the Europe-educated architects in Tel Aviv, they formed an influential group called “Hug”, which discussed mainly about the future development of local architecture. They addressed and researched innovatively in various aspects — climate, production costs and building standards, which seeked to incorporate the modern movement principles in the existing cultural setup, mould and shape the urban appearance with new type of architectural vernacular of Tel Aviv with reference to their education in Europe.
It was the result of the discussion of the “Hug” group that the building typology in Tel Aviv transformed from Eclectic and Oriental Style to the unique type of Bauhaus Style that would only appear in Tel Aviv. Thanks to the Bauhaus’ and Le Corbusier’s modernism theory, the ideological influences that necessitated the emergence of the prototypical modern type of architectures in the city.”
- Metsger-Samoḳ, Nitsah. 2004. Des Maisons Sur Le Sable. Paris: Eclat.
- Harpaz, Nathan. Zionist Architecture and Town Planning: The Building of Tel Aviv (1919-1929).
- Boness, Stefan, and Carsten Hueck. Tel Aviv: The White City. Berlin: Jovis, 2012