Jan 25, 2015

Tel Aviv - The White City

This days I want to share my sights of my visit in Israel. This week is dedicate to my Tour in Tel Aviv. A city which I love so much, since the time that I used to live in. I don't know if my photos and explanations will succeed to transfer the sights and the feeling of this place, but I'll try my best. 
So for all of you that don't know about this very unique  and lively city I chose to start with some of the architecture concepts like the White city and Bauhaus best as I can.

The White City
Tel Aviv, was developed on the sand dunes north to Jaffa in 1909. The City itself is a synthesis of outstanding significance of the various trends of the Modern Movement in architecture and town planning in the early part of the 20th century. Such influences were adapted to the cultural and climatic conditions of the place, as well as being integrated with local traditions.
The city start with the construction of Neve Zedek, with two-storey sandstone buildings with tiled roofs in traditional styles built on a hill sloping towards the sea: this became the first nucleus of Tel Aviv.




 

 
 
 
The Red City, developed to the east, consists mostly of eclectic-style buildings with tiled roofs. Lev Hayir (the core of present-day Tel Aviv) and its surroundings extend to the north. It is mainly built in international style, a succession of three- to five-storey buildings with gardens.
 
The Central White City, to the north and built according to the Geddes Plan, has clearly marked residential zones and business areas.
The White City of Tel Aviv (Hebrew: העיר הלבנה‎, Ha-Ir HaLevana) refers to a collection of over 4,000 Bauhaus or International style buildings built in Tel Aviv from the 1930s by German Jewish architects who emigrated to the British Mandate of Palestine after the rise of the Nazis. The architects fleeing Europe brought not only Bauhaus ideas; the architectural ideas of Le Corbusier were also mixed in. In the 1930s in Tel Aviv, many architectural ideas were converging and Tel Aviv was the ideal place for them to be tested. The Bauhaus principles, with their emphasis on functionality and inexpensive building materials, were perceived as ideal in Tel Aviv.
The apex of the Bauhaus style occurred between the First and Second World Wars, with the growing waves of immigration from Europe. The aim was to provide residents with as much equality in living quarters. These blocks of apartments, operated almost as self-contained units. Residents had a variety of services right in the buildings, including kindergarten, post office, convenience store, laundry etc. Additionally, a plot of land was set aside, so that residents could grow their own vegetables. Having a ‘connection to the land’ was viewed as extremely important.
The architecture had to be adapted to suit the extremes of the Mediterranean and desert climate. White and light colors reflected the heat. Walls not only provided privacy but protected against the sun.
Large areas of glass that let in the light, a key element of the Bauhaus style in Europe, were replaced with small recessed windows that limited the heat and glare. This horizontal ‘strip window’ was a signature characteristic of Le Corbusier. (A number of local architects worked in Le Corbusier’s office in Paris and were greatly influenced by his style).
Long narrow balconies, each shaded by the balcony above it, allowed residents to catch the breeze blowing in from the sea to the west.
Slanted roofs were replaced with flat ones, providing a common area where residents could socialize in the cool of the evening.
Buildings were raised on pillars (pilotis), these allow the wind to blow under and cool the apartments, as well as providing a play area for children.
Most of the buildings were of concrete (reinforced concrete was often applied from 1912 on) and in the summer were unbearably hot despite their innovative design features.
Tel Aviv’s residents took to the streets in the evenings, frequenting the numerous small parks between the buildings and the growing number of coffee shops, where they could enjoy the evening air. This tradition continues in the café society, and nightlife of the city today
Three zones have a consistent representation of Modern Movement architecture, although they differ in character. Zone B was built in the early 1930s, and zone A mainly from the 1930s to the early 1940s. Zone C, the Bialik district, represents local architecture from the 1920s on, with examples of Art Deco and eclecticism, but also a strong presence of 'white architecture'. This small area represents a selection of buildings that became landmarks in the development of the regional language of Tel Aviv's modernism. The buildings reflect influences from the Bauhaus, Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn. The buildings are characterized by the implementation of the Modernist ideas into the local conditions. The large glazed surfaces of European buildings are reduced to relatively small and strip window openings, more suitable for the hot weather. Many buildings have pilotis, as in Le Corbusier's design, allowing the sea breeze to come through. Other elements include the brise-soleil to cut direct sunlight; the deep balconies served the same purpose, giving shade, as well as adding to the plasticity of the architecture. The flat roofs were paved and could be used for social purposes. A characteristic feature is the use of curbed corners and balconies, expressive of Mendelsohn's architecture. The buildings also include a certain amount of local elements, such as cupolas. The most common building material was reinforced concrete; it had been used since 1912, being suitable for less-skilled workers. Other materials were also introduced, such as stone cladding for the external surfaces, and metal. There was some use of decorative plasters, although decoration became a matter of carefully detailed functional elements, such as balcony balustrades, flower boxes and canopies
Tel Aviv has the largest number of buildings in this style of any city in the world, and In 2003, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed Tel Aviv's White City a World Cultural Heritage site, as "an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century."
























This is really a short view and only the first day tour. 
More updates will come during this week.

Sarit
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