Our last day in Tel Aviv, we took a Bauhaus architectural walking tour. I’ve included a sampling of the large amount of graffiti as well that we found quite interesting. At the turn of the 20th century most Jews in Israel were living in Jerusalem but a growing number were living on the coast, in Jaffa alongside their Muslim neighbors. As things grew more crowded with increased immigration from Eastern Europe, the city expanded into what is now Tel Aviv with housing but all of the “city” services were still located in Jaffa. In the late 1920s there were riots during which a number of Jews were killed, so the Jewish population transferred enmasse to Tel Aviv and in the 1930s increased their population from around 1200 to 30,000. As you might imagine there was a housing boom.
In the 1920s a school called the Bauhaus School developed in Germany, under the leadership of Walter Gropius. Those of you in Art 1B will be learning about this later in the semester. The Bauhaus philosophy related to architecture as well as design was one of the most influential movements of the 20th century. In architecture Bauhaus made use of reinforced concrete and steel, materials that lent themselves to fast and relatively inexpensive building. This style of architecture shuns ornamentation, is asymmetrical, and is more concerns with space than mass. Vertical and horizontal elements are carefully integrated for functionality.
Tel Aviv has the largest number of Bauhaus buildings in the world, an irony given that the Nazis closed down the Bauhaus school in 1933 as degenerate and many of the teachers and students had to leave Germany, some of them coming to Israel and responsible for designing these buildings. We were disturbed to see how shabby and neglected most of these buildings are. One reason is likely, stucco close to the ocean is probably not a great match.
This was an interesting way to end our sojourn here in Israel. Look forward to seeing or being in touch with most of you soon.