tel aviv architecture

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The architecture of #Palestine during the British Mandate

New ‘Social Construction’ exhibit at the Israel Museum explores the European influence on the evolution of Israel’s modernist visual heritage.

“Social Construction,” a new exhibit at the #Israel Museum in #Jerusalem running through December 31, 2016, puts a spotlight on the “white architecture” that early 20th century European modernists imported to pre-state Palestine – and the social values this style reflects.

Curator Oren Sagiv gathered roughly 40 analytical and interpretive drawings together with more than 60 archival photographs of some of the iconic architectural projects built between 1930 and 1940 during the time of the British Mandate.

The Bialik School in Tel Aviv was built in the 1930s by Yaacov Shiffman (Ben Sira). Photo from the Kalter Collection

Of course, Tel Aviv is nicknamed the White City for its unrivalled abundance of these simple white, rounded buildings designed in what is known as the Bauhaus or International style. But they’re found in large numbers also in Jerusalem and #Haifa.

This classic #Bauhaus building at 65 Hovavei Tzion Street in Tel Aviv was built in 1935 by Pinchas Hit (Philip Huett). Photo from the Kalter Collection

The 1930 May Cinema in #Haifa was done by Yehuda Lilienfeld. Photo from the Kalter #Collection

“Social Construction” shows how the development of these urban centers “emerged from the influence of international modernism while forming a unique architectural language inspired by the ambitions to establish a new state and to create a new social order,” according to the museum.

A peek into “Social Construction” at the Israel Museum. Photo: courtesy

“The influx of immigration to Palestine following the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the concurrent political upheavals in eastern Europe brought a generation of architects who embraced modernism as a new beginning.”

Architectural plans for The Casino, a landmark building on the Bat Galim promenade of Haifa built in 1934 by Alfred Goldberg. Photo courtesy of the #Israel #Museum

Located in the museum’s new Palevsky Design Pavilion, “Social Construction” draws on the research of Israeli architects Ada Karmi-Melamede and Dan Price, co-authors of Architecture in Palestine During the British mandate, 1917-1948. An English translation of the book was published as a companion to the exhibition.

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Tel-Aviv’s #Modern #Movement - The White City (Hebrew: העיר הלבנה‎‎, Ha-Ir ha-Levana) refers to a collection of over 4,000 buildings built in a #unique form of the #Bauhaus or International Style in #TelAviv from the 1930s by #German #Jewish #architects who immigrated to the #British Mandate of #Palestine after the rise of the #Nazis. Tel Aviv has the largest number of buildings in the Bauhaus/International #Style of any city in the world. Preservation, documentation, and exhibitions have brought attention to Tel Aviv’s collection of 1930s architecture. In 2003, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (#UNESCO) proclaimed Tel Aviv’s #WhiteCity a #World #Cultural #Heritage site, as “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. The Bauhaus Center in Tel Aviv organises regular architectural tours of the city.

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Flower blossoms welcome passersby in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s Valero Square has a new attraction – blossoming flowers. The nine-meter lamps resembling poppies “bloom” when approached by a person or a passing tram in the nearby station.

The urban installation titled “Warde” was created by HQ Architects, a Tel Aviv-based architecture firm, in 2014.

These self-inflating flowers have been installed in key positions making them visible from all corners of the square. The flowers are multipurpose in nature – they’re lamps at night, provide shade during daytime and add character to the crippling square.

“This project is part of the municipality’s effort to improve the urban space of the city center and in this specific case, of the square’s poor condition,” according to designboom, an architecture and design magazine.

“Warde’s attempt was not to fight the chaos but instead to try and lighten up the urban space, by spreading around these four elements that have a hint of fantasy,” described the magazine.

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Yaacov Agam, the internationally renowned kinetic artist and sculptor, has always been interested in pushing the boundaries, in showing us something new that we didn’t even know was there.

His pieces are playful and distinctive, and invite the viewer to interact with the art.  The large-scale, playful installation pieces he creates integrate beautifully into both living spaces (such as the Tel Aviv apartment building that he helped decorate) and public spaces.  His sectional rainbow fountain on Dizengoff Street marks a favorite hang out spot in central Tel Aviv.