Coined the most modernist and influential art school of the 20th century, Bauhaus (meaning ‘building house’), also referred to as the ‘International Style’, was inaugurated in 1919 by Walter Gropius, who founded the German school of art, carving the way for an ethos which merged contemporary style with industrial design. Tel Aviv is a visionary phenomenon of just this, characterised largely by its distinctive assortment of Bauhaus buildings peppering the central and peripheral regions of the city.
Bauhaus was conceptualised within Israel during the 1930s at the pinnacle of Europe’s modernist art movement, during a period in which a young Tel Aviv underwent intensive development in order to house new immigrants and transform what is referred to today as the ‘White City’. It was only natural most of the European architects entering the country brought with them ideas of the modernist movement. Influenced by the works of Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn and especially the Bauhaus School of Art and Design, they constructed what has become the largest and most impressive collection of Bauhaus architecture anywhere in the world. These eye-catching sleek white buildings, recognised by their intriguing asymmetry, curved narrow balconies to provide shade and levelled rooftops befitting of the International Style were constructed with both purpose and function at the forefront of design.
Some 4,000 buildings were erected throughout Tel Aviv from 1932 onwards in answer to the rising population of Jaffa. Architects homed in on this city, a region plentiful in land during that time, to fabricate the White City. Construction continued until 1948, the year of Israel’s Independence, followed decades later by restoration and preservation works to maintain the remarkable architectural landscape. This led to Tel Aviv being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003.
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