Lecture by Architect Gaby Nussbaum in the Studio of the Turku City main library
”The White City – Bauhaus in Tel Aviv”
During the 1930’s Tel Aviv went through an intensive development and a large number of buildings were constructed in the city center. The arrival of architects from Germany during the 30’s brought drastic changes in the building style moving from “Eclecticism” to “Modernism”. The buildings built during the 1930’s and 40’s were designed mainly by European architects that were influenced by Le Corbusier, Gropius, and the Bauhaus masters so they adopted the International Style. Among them: Arie Sharon, Dov Karmi, Zeev Rechter, Josef Neufeld, Genie Averbuch, Richard Kaufmann Erich Mendelssohn and more. Some of them studied in the Bauhaus school.
The main building effort was in housing, private and collaborative. There were some Interesting cooperative residence blocks for workers sharing social and commercial services. Most of the buildings were concentrated within the areas of the ”Gedess Plan”. Patrik Gedess was a Scottish anthropologist invited by the city Meir during the ”British Mandat” to design a master plan for Tel – Aviv.
Patrik Gedess plan 1927-1928, Authorized 1932
Patrick Gedess created a human linear city structure with pleasant street section, small core gardens paying attention to the Mediterranean breeze from west to east. The guide lines of Gedess plan are still alive in the city center and it keeps a very pleasant living environment that can easily adopt the developments resulting from changes in life style
The consciousness of the local heritage of the 1930’s started to arouse only during the 1980’s thanks to the German photographer Judith Turner who created an exhibition in the Tel Aviv Museum of the “grey“ neglected buildings, and called it “The white city”. In 1994 the city arranged an International conference “The white city – International style”. The ”icon” was “Bauhaus in Tel Aviv”. Since then the city applied for the Unesco recognition as a world heritage site and received it in 2004. The white city includes around 4000 buildings in the International Style which were adapted to the local cultural, climatic, and traditional conditions. According to UNESCO about 1000 buildings from the 4000 are declared for deep preservation and they represent the ”Golden age of the urban planning in Tel Aviv”. One of the main issues in the declaration was the overlapping of the Bauhaus buildings with Gedess plan.