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Mad about Bauhaus
Don’t knock those old concrete buildings with cracked facades and sagging balconies that you see all over Tel Aviv. They are actually a treasure trove of 1930s Bauhaus architecture that has no match anywhere in the world. True diamonds in the rough – and Tel Aviv has thousands of them. Thanks to these buildings, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site a couple of years back, and pots of money are now being invested to restore them. On Rothschild Boulevard, in particular, you can see a whole slew of them in different states of dilapidation/repair.
To find out more about these buildings and the German Jewish architects who took the principles of Bauhaus architecture, which was developed in pre-Nazi Germany, and adapted them to the local climate, join the free English walking tour that meets every Saturday morning at 11 a.m. on the steps of the First International Bank at 46 Rothschild (corner of Shadal Street). No need to register.
The tour is two hours. Be prepared to do more standing than walking. The guide covers a lot of ground – not physically, but historically. By the end of it, you will be an expert in identifying Bauhaus architecture as opposed to other building styles on the street, from Eclectic and Brutalist to just plain quirky. Take along a hat and a bottle of water.
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Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus
Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, and comprises the world's largest concentration of Modernist-style buildings.
Bauhaus architecture was introduced in the 1920s and 1930s by German Jewish architects who settled in Palestine after the rise of the Nazis.
Tel Aviv's White City, around the city center, contains more than 5,000 Modernist-style buildings inspired by the Bauhaus school and Le Corbusier.
Take Note of the Bauhaus Architecture
Tel Aviv has the largest collection of buildings built in the International Style, anywhere in the world. Bauhaus architecture flourished in Tel Aviv (as elsewhere in the country) in the 1930’s.
Between the WW1 & WW2, there was a major increase in construction in Tel Aviv, largely due to the growing waves of immigration from Europe. Buildings that were starting to show some age were painted white (or beige). The city had many ‘white’ buildings, which came to be associated with the International Style (even though white exteriors are not really one its characteristics) and is the source of the city’s nickname “The White City”.
"Bauhaus" is defined as the architectural school of Walter Gropius, founded in Germany, 1919: it promoted a synthesis of painting, sculpture, and architecture, the adaptation of science and technology to architecture, and an emphasis on functionalism
white city - Bauhaus buildings
large number of buildings built in the city between the 1920s and the 1950s in the Bauhaus or International style.
Over 4000 buildings in these styles can be found in central Tel Aviv; the largest concentration in any one city in the world. In 2003, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), proclaimed "The White City" of Tel Aviv as a World Cultural Heritage site, for being “an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century”. The citation recognized the unique adaptation of modern international architectural trends to the cultural, climatic, and local traditions of the city.
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Tel-Aviv is known for its Bauhaus style houses. If you're interested in such houses, take a stroll at the central area of the city, around Rothschild Blvd and walk along the little Bialik street. The entire area is full with beautiful modern houses.
Unfortunately, a lot of the houses weren't maintained properly and are in terrible state. In the last few years, the local authorities have started to reconstruct and preserve some of the most important houses.
This part of the city was declared a Unesco World Heritage site.
There are free walking tours in English exploring this area. See more details at the walking tours site.
Originally developed in Germany, Bauhaus Architecture become the defining style of Tel Aviv. It features white facades with curved rather than 90 degree angles.
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Tel Aviv-Yafo Travel Guide
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