Tel Aviv/ Social make-up brought by the International Style (Private housing)

It is not difficult to notice that most International Style buildings in Tel Aviv were single buildings, usually private dwellings. It was because of the situation of the property market in the 1920s and 1930s. Land acquisitions in Tel Aviv was mainly carried out by three bodies: private speculators looking for profit, Tel aviv municipality and private individuals who wished to settle in the city. Speculations and increase in land prices made urban land acquisition even less attractive for the public market. Therefore, private dwellings were more favoured than cooperative housing which made less financial returns.

Unlike cooperative housing, private housing was less likely to be planned as a complete scheme, and hence having less macro-social impacts. But it worths noticing that the individual houses were also residents-oriented and resulted in a rise of living quality was also possible.

Since 1928, the Geddes’s plan already preserved the needs of the middle-class, as the Garden City spirit of the pre-war scheme. They divided the extension of the city into lots which were appropriate for private, single-family housing, instead of collective social housing. Architecturally speaking, Bauhaus Style itself was also a model for single-family, but not for a few generations to live in.

Block analysis in the White City. The urban lots were divided for private housing.’
Block analysis in the White City. The urban lots were divided for private housing. ©Kallus, 2010

Typical four-storey apartment buildings were detached from each other and set back at about 4 meters from the street. Compared to the Eclectic Style and Orientalism which were popular before Bauhaus, the buildings in 1930s were more adaptable to climate and had the optimal orientation. Apart from the interior of the houses, the Bauhaus houses also follow strictly the lots given by Geddes. Garden plot was maintained and hence to teach residents to take pleasure in gardening. Flat roof and balcony so on are also gathering space offered by the characteristic Bauhaus architecture.

According to an interview done by the Washington Post, a local woman agreed when asked about “whether the building has architectural significance matter”. She praised the ceiling heights, the cross ventilation, the light which were all designed from the locals’ perspective.

Eclectic Style which was ornamented on the facade symbolized a distinct hierarchy between social classes. But the Bauhaus was very plain in Tel Aviv. It fits everyone. The idea is not to show off, but that everything is the same. The introduction of the Bauhaus architecture granted Tel Avivians better living quality and social life. What’s more important was the widespread idea of egalitarian among the society.



  1. Kallus, Rachel. Planning Perspectives: Patrick Geddes and the Evolution of a Housing Type in Tel-Aviv. 2010.
  2. “In Tel Aviv, Bauhaus Rules.” Washington Post. Accessed December 21, 2015.
  3. 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.
  4. Bandau, Irmel, and Winfried Nerdinger. Tel Aviv Modern Architecture, 1930-1939. Tübingen: Wasmuth, 1994.

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