Tel Aviv-Yafo often referred to as Tel-Aviv, is the most populous city in Israel. Located on the country’s Mediterranean coastline, it is the economic and technological center of the country.
The White City, commonly called a Bauhaus destination, refers to a collection of over 4,000 buildings built in the Bauhaus style from the 1930s. Tel-Aviv has the largest number of buildings in the Bauhaus style in the world. In 2003, UNESCO proclaimed Tel-Aviv’s White City as a World Cultural Heritage site.
Tel Aviv officially got the name, “The White City” because of the more usage of pearly plaster veneers in the city.
The Bauhaus Centre, Tel-Aviv, emphasized: “Bauhaus in Tel-Aviv is a Tel-Avivian Bauhaus.”. Mostly, Tel-Aviv architects adapted the International Style to the city’s harsh Mediterranean climate.
“Bauhaus style has its own principles, based on functionalism and development of existing skills”, says Dr.Gross, head of Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv
There are literally thousands of Bauhaus houses in Tel Aviv and a lot to be discovered. To learn more about the “white city” and the history of Tel Aviv you can take a free guided tour every Saturday at 11 am from Rothschild Blvd. 46. The Bauhaus Centre has a wealth of information, exhibitions, tours, and souvenirs. The White City Centre is a collaborative project run by the City of Tel Aviv and the German government for the preservation of the International Style.
Following are the “10 representative buildings of Bauhaus in Tel Aviv, everyone must visit to know more about Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus style.
1. Bruno House | Tel Aviv
Completed year: 1933
Architect: Ze’ev Haller
The Bruno house was built in 1933 by the architect Ze’ev (Wilhelm) Haller with three storeys. The client was Bruno Boaz and Josef Schwabe from the Tel Aviv Building Company. The building is therefore also known as Boaz-Schwabe-House. This building was originally designed as a three-storey residential building.
Its design has Modernist/International Style qualities, such as the emphasis on the balconies on the Strauss Street facade, uniquely designed in a continuous, curving line. The Bruno House has only a narrow façade has 6 windows and three cantilevered balconies.
In 2004, the Bruno House was renovated and expanded by Bar Orian Architects. The new floors are located in the rear part of the building and are not noticeable from the street. This kept the original character of the building untouched. This is a favorite residential building for all of Tel Avivian’s because of its lovely balconies with rounded corners and curving lines that go all around the building.
2. Engel House
Completed year: 1933
Architect: Ze’ev Rechter
84 Rothschild street provides a “nice” example of the poor condition of some of the most important buildings. The Engel House a0t 84 receives special mention as being the first house in Tel Aviv built on stilt Engel House at 84 Rothchild Street – the very first Israeli structure built on stilts columns, an important characteristic of “International style”, to create an illusion of open space in dense cities.
A large residential building of apartments is the first structure in the city that was built on pillars, a modification to Bauhaus style to address the hot Tel Aviv weather so that air could flow under the building to cool it. Located on the roof were an exercise room and a roof garden and a concrete pergola in the style of Le Corbusier for the enjoyment of the tenants. Engel House was built in a u-shape around an inner courtyard. The convergence between the balconies of the two facades creates plays of mass and light and shade. The space under the pillars was closed during WW II for use as a British headquarters. Today however those columns are filled in with breeze blocks and are graffiti-covered whilst the overall “shape” of the building has been totally altered by the infilling of balconies. This building has not been well maintained and is in need of renovation.
3. Esther Cinema & Dizzengoff Square
Completed Year: 1934 & 1938
Architects: Genia Averbuch Yehuda Magidovitch
Located in the heart of Tel Aviv, The Dizengoff Square holds a rich significance in Bauhaus architecture. Originally designed by Genia Averbuch in 1934, the square contained a shaded public plaza, encompassed by four International Style white plastered-structures, with Bauhaus characters like horizontal windows, flat roofs, and deep, curved balconies.
This square was remodeled in 1978 as a new, unshaded plaza that halted the visual continuum of Dizengoff Street. The most significant building in Dizengoff Square is the Hotel Cinema or Dizengoff Kikar, which is surely one of the most striking buildings in Tel Aviv. The former cinema was completed in 1939 by architect Yehuda Magidowitz.
This Bauhaus-style cinema is the real landmark of the city and one of the first in Tel Aviv was renovated and re-opened as an elegant, unique 82 room hotel, known as the Hotel Cinema in 2001. This remarkable International Style construction features undulating balconies and geometric windows, uniform facades composed of concave balconies, to get harmonize with the plaza. Its columns and pilotis supports, which lift a building above the ground or a body of water, are “typical of the local Bauhaus style,” The Dizengoff square, on which the Cinema Hotel is located, is commonly called “The heart of the White City and probably the only real Bauhaus square all over the globe,” says Dr.Gross, head of Bauhaus foundation Tel Aviv.
4. Rubinsky House
Completed year: 1935
Architects: Lucian Korngold, Bar-Or Architects
The Rubinsky House was developed by architects L Krasowski and E Markusfeld in 1935 and restored in 2008 by Amnon Bar or Architects, this three-block residential building is known for its distinctive facade, with protruding balconies and long windows, so designed to fight the heat in Tel Aviv.
Rubinsky House symbolizes the birth of the ‘Israeli Bauhaus’. It borrows elements from Modernism, including decorative awnings, as well as hanging columns leading into the stairwell, which pushes the boundaries of the Bauhaus philosophy that favors pragmatism and simplicity over beauty.
This residential building was designed with spacious apartments and a lavish entry hall. The Street facades are decorated and details such as awnings, rounded terraces, hanging concrete beams, and gutters, as well as scraped plaster with a glittering mineral aggregate typical of the period, all serve as decorative elements.
The whole building is coated with ground plaster (Kratzputz) with a sparkling mineral additive constituting one of the building’s identifying marks. The building’s envelope was carefully preserved, and most of the elements were restored.
5. The Thermometer Building | Tel Aviv
Completed year: 1936
Architect: Yehuda Liulka
The Thermometer building, designed by architect Yehuda Liulka. Completed in 1936, is located on 5 Frug Street, is known as “The Thermometer building” because of the vertical line of diagonal, slatted windows running up and down its entire four-story length, because of which, the structure seems more ornamental than other Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv. However, it too is above all a functional housing space.
These oddly shaped windows align perfectly with the interior staircase, thereby letting in light throughout the day, so as to preserve electricity by making the best use of natural light, but not as much heat as would larger, fully open windows.
The architect has also paid careful consideration to climate sensitivities and provided raised banisters along the balcony protrusions, serving both as a banister and as a much-needed shade for this social space, used throughout the day by residents.
6. The Leon Recanati Building
Completed year: 1936
Architects: Shlomo Liaskoksi, Jacob Orenstein
The Leon Recanati building was designed by architects Shlomo Liaskokski and Jacob Orenstein. It was completed in 1936 and is located on 35 Menachem Begin Road. It was designed on a trapezoid plot with residential quarters on the upper level and retail on the ground floor facing the main road.
This three-story block of flats with shops on the ground floor has a facade with a pattern that mind vertical cylinders cut out to reveal balconies so that no one apartment is blocked from the sun or from having a view. The building is very long and the balconies stand out even more than they would on a taller structure.
The house was restored by Bar Orian Architects in 2000. The restoration included works to the plaster balconies and wooden windows, whilst the garden in the rear inner courtyard was also reconstructed. But the Recanati House has maintained its original size which in turn has meant it retaining the unique impact of those balconies. “It’s “modern, timeless and interesting,” says Dr. Gross, head of Bauhaus Foundation, Tel Aviv.
7. Jacobson’s Building
Architect: Emanuel Halbrecht
The Jacobson’s Building was built in 1937 by architect Emanuel Halbrecht and renovated in 2012 by Nitza Szmuk architects and expanded. The Jacobson’s Building at 28 Levontin Street stands out for its elegant design language and high-quality materials.
This corner building was designed as an office building with shops on the ground floor and a mezzanine floor. In practice, with its elegant, asymmetrical façade, it has always been a mixed-use building with shops, offices, and apartments. It is divided into three masses arranged in a U shape around a rear inner courtyard, and both its entrances are on Levontin Street. Emanuel Halbrecht has skillfully structured the building masses and created a very elegant corner of the building. The transition between the natural stone base and Source: Google images plaster facade is emphasized by projecting canopies.
The building underwent strict preservation, which included changing the apartments’ arrangement and an increase in their number, as well as installing security rooms and elevators.
8. Hotel Montefiore
Completed year: 1920
Architect: Yoav Messer
Occupying two elegant 1920s Bauhaus buildings, stands” The Hotel Montefiore “, first boutique hotel of Tel Aviv’s, located In the heart of Tel Aviv.
The luxury hotel was opened in 2014 and has already been named “best boutique hotel in the world” by Jetsetter Magazine and has also been featured as one of the world’s best hotels by several other big-name magazines.
The hotel’s two buildings were restored to perfection by Architect Yoav Messer who made sure to place emphasis on all the details that maintain the elegant 1920s Bauhaus character of the buildings. The pale yellow and powder blue buildings are connected by a Mediterranean citrus garden and a magnificent terrace. This gorgeous Bauhaus boutique hotel is one of the most highly-rated hotels in the city with 12 elegant rooms having high ceilings and luxury interiors.
For Bauhaus architecture lovers, it’s at a great location to explore more beautiful buildings, as it’s very close to Rothschild Boulevard.
9. Asia House
Completion year: 1979
Architect: Mordechai Ben Horin
One of the few Bauhaus-style office buildings is the 1979 Asian House by Mordechai Ben Horin. The Asia House was then and is still today a bold and outstanding addition to the landscape of Tel Aviv. Standing at the corner of Weizmann St. and Shaul HaMelech Blvd. the seven-story, the white-clad curvilinear structure remains relatively hidden from the eyes of tourists and architecture enthusiasts who are attracted, naturally, to the abundance of international style buildings commonly known as “Bauhaus” – what the “White City” is so famous for.
The building consists of 5 curved facades of white, glazed tiles. The Asia House is reminiscent of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright in New York, which opened in 1959. The curved shape is to represent the waves in the sea. “A sea-front city deserves a wavy building,” says the architect.
In the glazed basement, there are shops and cafes. Asia House is home to several embassies and Cultural Institutes. The Asia House is one of the most famous buildings in Tel Aviv. It began to deteriorate and recently was purchased by businessman and multimillionaire Alfred Akirov, who intends to add a 25-story hotel on top of the iconic structure.
10. Gordon Hotel | Tel Aviv
Located on Tel Aviv’s lively seafront, Gordon Hotel combines historic architecture with modern facilities. It is one of the Bauhaus buildings that made Tel Aviv’s White City area a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Gordon Hotel embraces the Bauhaus movement and fused this design movement with twenty-first century technologies and luxuries to create a highly coveted and prestigious hotel.
In renovating this unique Bauhaus building, the hotel has restored the beautiful iconic features that so symbolize this iconic style, and fused this with a lush palette of calm, bright colors and shades. The Gordon Hotel has twelve guest suites, many of which have sea views and balconies opening up onto the fresh sea breeze. It features an open rooftop lounge, the ideal place to watch the sunset and enjoy the ocean breeze.