Tel Aviv/ The emergence of Bauhaus Style in Tel Aviv

Beginning in the early 1930s, the Great Depression struck across Europe and the United States, causing mass unemployment and the collapse of economy, affected the lives that rely on the system. The Jews residing in Eastern Europe and Germany were one of the victims, and that the professionals from different fields were seriously hit by the event with fewer opportunities provided in town.

On the other hand, Nazism in Germany grew gradually into a one-party-state following the rise of Hitler’s power in 1933, marginalizing the Jews and their subsequent work. Under the control of the party, only German goods were being accepted and acknowledged, whereas “un-German” products were criticised and even banned. In addition to the above nationalism, Jews, sadly, were placed at the bottom of the racial scale, in which they were being enslaved, imprisoned, or killed.

Each of the above events had triggered the incentive of the Jews to leave Europe and back to their homeland – Palestine. Waves of immigrants from Europe were then occurred within a rather short period of time, crowding cities in Palestine including Tel Aviv, leading to a drastic increase in demands of accommodations, food supply and services that the cities needed to respond and tackle with.

The socio-political and economic change at that time has then urged and necessitated for a new form of architecture in response to the population explosion, resulting in the rise of International Style, the Bauhaus buildings. Modern architectures are functional, rational and simple in principle, without ornamentations that have no functional advantages on the buildings. In oppose to the erstwhile dominating Eclectic Style and local Oriental Style which advocate decorativeness and ornamentations, the international style possesses the quality of simplicity and thrift that were quick in solving the current situation. This adopting move, has marked the beginning of the prevalence of Bauhaus.

Aerial view of Tel Aviv in the early 1930s ©Wasmuth, 1994

Since then, Bauhaus architectures have started to take shape in Tel Aviv, growing around the city of Tel Aviv as the White City we recognize today. The altering of style was not simply the demand for a quick housing, but rather, in addition, the need of a rational approach towards design and planning together with the incorporation of social concept (which are influenced and reinforced by modernist ideology). Thus, it has become the new norm of buildings in the city.


  1. Metsger-Samoḳ, Nitsah. 2004. Des Maisons Sur Le Sable. Paris: Eclat.
  2. R, Joachim. Tel Aviv: From Dream to City. London: Reaktion Books, 1999.
  3. Noah Hysler Rubin.The celebration, condemnation and reinterpretation of the Geddes plan, 1925: the dynamic planning history of Tel Aviv.Urban History, 40, pp 114-135. 2013

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