TONIGHT I want to talk to u about the early years of the growth of tel aviv My story will focus on the DREAMS that made this amazing city , dreams of freedom leaving the oppression of the past behind. Being in Hampstead garden suburb tonight is very important for this talk As it has early connections with the foundations of the city..
The Tel aviv I am going to talk about is the one made into a world heritage site in 2002 Also know as the white city , the city of the Bauhaus style.. I am going to trace 3 utopian ideals that helped in its formation… So how did all come into being?
*** it all started with 60 familes with a dream in the dunes. A dream to leave Jaffa behind and start a new settlement just outside Jaffa. A place that they could call their own A place where they could be proud to be who they were A place where they could be free. And thanks to these courageous people we all feel free to be who we are in Tel Aviv. Now I want to show you some wonderful film footage so you can really feel the atmosphere of those early days of the 20th c. Jaffa at that time was the largest port in ottoman palestine and a lively prosperous city comprising of some 8000 jews as well of course the arab and christian populations. These images really take you back in time to the feelings and smells and sounds of that time . the crowdedness of Jaffa ,.the emptiness in the dunes and the pioneering feeling of the new settlers.
This is the beginning of the first dream - zionism This was the they wanted to leave behind - the oppression , humiliation , degradation Between 1880 - 1914 2,500,000 people leave Russia to settle in the US Just Between 1880 - 1890 about a quarter of a million went to US and 20,000 went to the land of Israel in the first Aliya - the farmers aliya People started to think that it was not possible to live a free jewish life in diaspora Groups started to be formed in Russia to think of an alternative solution..Odessa
Groups in Russia such as Hibbat Zion from Odessa . And many others… They were not political as such , they raised money to help people immigrate to Palestine and create agricultural settlements. However they did not have a unified vison It took Herzl to do that He was able to project this vision , sell it , believe it and put it out there in the book the JEWISH STATE 1896 The vison of a HOMELAND FOR THE JEWS IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL He was inspired to write this because of the Dreyfus case Couldny believe antisemitism in western europe After the book was published HERZL and Nordau and others organised the first zionist congress.They managed to get organisations and jews from all over the world to participate. That night he wrote in his diary “ Today a state was born” Now look at quote We shall not dwell in mud huts - we will build more modern bolder..
Lets see how these ideals were going to be implemented , how was the dream going to become real Rupin , sociologist lawyer german was sent to do a recky - see what was there What he saw : charity poverty , inefficient agricultural settlements He was concerned about a slide to the ghetto What was needed for this new homeland was that it was self sufficient and growing without a reliance on charity.
1908 Rupin immigrated to Palestine and went ot live in Jaffa Jaffa at the time was unhealthy , dirty , chaotic He joins with 59 other families to form achuzat bayit **** and these were the aims Rupin became the chief implementer of the aims..and he realised that he needed a plan or they may regress into the ghetto. Rupin was modern and well connected he ordered the latest books on town planning and that was from England -
The book was called the Garden Cities of tomorrow ” written by Ebeneezer Howard. He was a stenographer! So just to show town planning as a discipline did not really exist. Londons first town planning conference was 1909 - the birth of Tel aviv So just see how modern Rupin was… Back to E HOWARD This book is still one of the early bibles of town planning and it was written in 1898 - 2 years after Herzls jewish state Howard was inspired to write his utopian book after being exposed to the horror of the London slums. The crowdedness , the unhealthy , the oppressive cities . He wanted to improve the condition of living for working people in the city. In his garden city ideal he wanted people to be involved in common land ownership , where everyone had access to their own bit of land, to greenery,to light and fresh air , to communal facilities , to shops and to farms.he believed that all details of the town needed to be planned - He managed to raise funds to build an ideal community in Letchworth in 1904 In 1906 Hampstead garden suburb was built and that is how we link with our venue today! , inspired by Howards ideals and it was not so soon after that Tel Aviv was started.
Now lets see how the young tel aviv implements the garden city ideal density plot ratios Approval by commitee
The next great event in the realisation of the dream of zionism was the Balfour declaration and the British Mandate The British as colonialists believed in DEVELOPMENT MODERNITY AND PLANNING As you can imagine they had very eager and enthusiastic partners in the early jewish settler. As a result of the positive atmosphere in Palestine and the negative events abroad - the disillusionment with the russian revolution - there was a great influx of people - 3rd/4th Aliyas 120.000 people Tel aviv was outgrowing Rupins plan A NEW PLAN WAS NEEDED
Between the British and the committee for Tel aviv , they appointed a proper urban planner - Patrick Geddes , a scots man, who works along garden city principals (remember planning is still not such a common profession - used a bit in the colonies) He design a plan for Tel aviv which continus the garden city principles of Rupins ideas. You can see the greenery he allows for at the centre of the city blocks. Geddes believed that jewish culture would flourish by combining economic viability with the Zionist ideal : to reabsorb the jewish people in their ancient homeland through forms of settlement that would root them in the soil through agricultural work and direct contact with nature This plan - though not wholly implemented still lies at the heart of Tel aviv.
What style? TA is now going through a building boom. Not the past, not arab , not European of their past…there was a need to forget..to leave the past behind So they mix and match..in an attempt to find their own language. But its not quite right So this is where we bring the architects in….
And here they are Rechter , Neufeld and sharon Why these? Many built the white city but amongst the Most important But also because their life journey is exemplar of the others They came to Palestine in 1919 -20 not in mid 30s from Russia They were primarily socialist , idealist Zionist And
THE EUROPE OF 1920s had just emerged out of the destruction of war The young artists of the time saw this as an opportunity to build a new world where all the old structures had broken down.
This is where we come to our 3rd utopian dream , and our chief dreamer is le Corbusier.. Like Herzl and ebeneezer howard he also wrote a seminal book that was to influence architects to th present day…in the same way that Herzls book influenced zionism and Howards book influenced town planning. Corbusier put his ideas down for the future world in towards a new Architecture of 1923. Architecture would be : egalitarian , abstract without replicating forms from the past, all ornament would be functional , every element in the building would have a function , it would promote health and hygiene, technology could be haressed to improve the lives of people. The past was the dark and damp unhealthiness of the slums which also expressed the rotteness of the society at the time. The new style was called the International style … because architects and designers came together in groups from Finland,Holland,Germany , France and shared ideas, they believed in the same ideals which Corbusier put into words: a great epoch has begun.There exists a new spirit.there exists a mass of work conceived in the new spirit…our own epoch is determining day by day its own style “ a great epoch has begun.There exists a new spirit.there exists a mass of work conceived in the new spirit…our own epoch is determining day by day its own style. ” . ” Le Corbusier 1923
Lets see what this means in terms of the new architecture - You all know what a victorian house is like…most of us in London live in one And this is the Villa Savoie built in 1928 Built according to the new principles of freeing the walls from the floors The floors which are concrete now are suported on pilotis, leaving the walls free to play The windows are ow free to be whatever shape they need to be - long and wide or tall and tin The plan is free and rooms can be whatever size they need to be… And you have the flat rood where leisure time can be spent in the fresh air away from the car,where you can sunbathe and do your exercises - health was extremely important in those early 20s Tuberculosis -flu - hygiene - exercises… Corbusier was a health freak..he actually had a doctor friend write lots of articles in his magasine l ’esprit nouveau…
The white city of Tel aviv is called the Bauhaus style however this is actually a misnoma - because the style is really called the international style - even these buildings of the actual Bauhaus school above built in 1926 by Walter gropius. The Bauhaus was a school of all the arts and primarily the applied arts..its aims were to bring together the machine and the arts so young designers could express the new spirit with the use of the new technology in the most beautiful way through function and simplicity.
Another strand of modern architecture of this period was the belief that architecture could play a role in realising a classless society The Aim was to provide housing for people/poor / under priviledged By harnessing developments in the fields of technology for the design of the daily lives of people, providing good clean hygienic housing with access to greenery inspired again by Howard and the garden city ideal but the buildings are designed in the international style.
Why am I bringing Mendelsohn in? He was jewish, Zionist and a star He was not such a functionalist as the others - he believed that architecture should express the spirit of the project RECAP Our The three architects from Palestine that we just mentioned worked with these guys here and were influenced by all these movements in Europe and they brought these ideas back with them when they returned. And the reason they returned was???
Please note why the Nazis closed down the bauhaus…. It is interesting to note that nationalist movements in general tended to go against the international , the abstract ,ideas that broke down boundaries, ideas that were open … and what they wanted are buildings and things that represent their heritage, their past…the pitched roofs…the village type housing, or in communal buildings and public buildings a look towards the empire…they wanted to look backwards and inwards… However ironically the zionist labour movement in Palestine adopted this very international style to be its own…it was the very abstraction..the fact that it belonged to noone maybe?
The architects came back to Palestine with 250,000 others who were fleeing from nazi Germany
They got together and formed a group called the “Chug” - again you not the strength of a group of like minded people to get an idea off the ground! and started a new magazine called Binyan where they consolidated these new ideas shared them , spread them and discussed them And show them how appropriate the new style was for the new TA Remember all these architects are socialists and already part of the Labour movement and societies of Tel Aviv so it was easy to slot back in and get to work. Before FILM Now I would like to show you a short film clip which will really give you a feel of what the atmosphere was like in these years of the early 30s - the business , the building fervour, the energy.
Now I would like to show you a sample of buildings built by our 3 architects Rechter The windows,pilots,roof terrace…
Arieh Sharon Studied at the Bauhaus under Gropius , worked with H.Meyer , marxist leader of Bauhaus “ the needs of the people not the needs of luxury ” H.Meyer Communal housing since he worked for Hannes Meyer Bauhaus balconies TA largest number of cooperative wrkers housing in the country.
Mendelsohn Curved façade Worked in Russia for health centres etc In effect this shows us how these 3architects and others brought back the vision of the new architecture of Europe back to Tel aviv and created the white city of 30s and 40s
Left Germany and went to live in the UK and then Palestine He had links with the brits so got all the plum jobs - nothing in TA - Haddassah hospital, Weizman house and hebrew university Jerusalem When he saw TA he was shocked - cos if you remember he believed that architect should express the spirit of the place…he said you cant transfer europe to Palestine He had a dream that Palestine would be a centre between east and west culturally and so the new building would also express this synthesis… As you cans see in these buildings Mendelsohn used domes and thick walls with small windows borrowed from the more oriental language of architecture. If Mendelsohn had his way TA may have been a very different place than it has become….
But in the end it was the architects of labour tel aviv that won out..the buildings of the international style expressed the ideals of the new growing nation… It was these qualities and ideals that created the city….
Vision of herzl
Of light , space and greenery
Of Ebeneezer Howard and Le Corbusier , of the most contemporary ideas of the time
The foresight of Rupins plan
Courage of the first 60 families
Of the early settlers making a new life
To an ideal
Of the new architecture
Of the urban plan , the architecture and the ideas
I would like to end with a series of clip from the early days of tel aviv to the1930s and whilst you watch this perhaps you could reflect on whether you think their dreams were achieved …. Thankyou.
1. “ Dream and action is not so far apart as is often thought . All the activity of mankind was a dream once - and will again be a dream.” Herzl - Alteneueland
2. Tel Aviv 2002 Unesco World Heritage Site “ The White City was constructed from the early 1930s until the 1950s, ….. a synthesis of outstanding significance of the various trends of the modern movement in architecture and town planning…adapted to a particular cultural and geographic context” Unesco
3. Tel Aviv 1909 60 Families with a dream on the dunes
5. 1880s - The pogroms of Eastern Europe
6. Hibbat Zion “ We shall not dwell in mud huts; we shall build new more beautiful and more modern houses…indeed we shall build in a bolder and more stately style than was ever adopted before , for we now possess means we never yet possessed” Theodor Herzl; The Jewish state Herzl First Zionist Congress 1898 Zionism
7. “ Zionism in Israel is adopting unhealthy lifestyles similar to those of the ghettos of Europe “ JNF What Rupin saw Palestine 1907
8. … Jewish urban centre in a healthy locality, laid out in a most comely manner and in observance of the laws of hygiene , so that instead of filth and excrement in the present Jaffa houses we will find resting place amidst gardens and fresh air. ” “ The Aims were to create…
9. “ Town and country must be married and out of this joyous union will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilisation.” Ebeneezer Howard 1898 London 1880s Hampstead Garden Suburb 1906 Oppression, Dirt… Poverty “ A peaceful path to real reform” The Garden City and Ebeneezer Howard
10. <ul><li>First planning Rules: </li></ul><ul><li>Street widths 12m and 10m </li></ul><ul><li>Plot sizes : 500m2 </li></ul><ul><li>Plot ratio coverage :30% </li></ul><ul><li>All changes approved by committee </li></ul>“ Money we don’t have but a plan we do”
11. The British Mandate 1917 Herbert Samuel walking into Jaffa
12. <ul><li>Plan that continues to influence the image of Tel Aviv </li></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><li>Economic viability </li></ul><ul><li>Connection to the land </li></ul><ul><li>Contact with nature </li></ul>The Garden City and Patrick Geddes
13. What Style? 1920s TEL AVIV the building boom 4th Aliya brings in 80,000 people
14. And now for the Architects Immigrated from Eastern Europe and Russia Left to study architecture and work in Europe Returned, founded the “Chug” and started working Most of the major buildings were constructed 1919 1925 1933 1934 Zeev Rechter Joseph Neufeld Arieh Sharon
15. Europe 1920s “ the old forms are in ruins, the benumbed world is shaken up, the old human spirit is invalidated and in flux towards a new form. We float in space and cannot perceive the new form.” Walter Gropius 1919
16. Europe 1920s “ a great epoch has begun.There exists a new spirit.there exists a mass of work conceived in the new spirit…our own epoch is determining day by day its own style. ” . ” Le Corbusier 1923 EMANCIPATION OF WOMEN NEW TRANSPORT - THE CAR, THE LINER,THE PLANE MEDICINE - ENGINEERING EGALITARIANISM New materials + engineering of glass,steel, concrete EINSTEINS THEORY OF RELATIVITY 1915 ABSTRACT ART AND CUBISM TRUTHFULNESS- AGAINST KITCH AND REPLICAS
17. Le Corbusier - Freedom Villa Savoie 1928-31 <ul><li>Freedom from oppression of walls! </li></ul><ul><li>The free plan, the free façade </li></ul><ul><li>Truth and authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>No applied decoration or symmetry </li></ul><ul><li>Healthy </li></ul><ul><li>White smooth surfaces </li></ul><ul><li>A place for exercise & leisure on the roof </li></ul>
18. The Bauhaus “… the Bauhaus believes the machine to be our medium of design and seeks to come to terms with it.” The Bauhaus School – Tutors Accommodation and Teaching Facility 1926
19. Social Housing in Frankfurt 1925-30 “ the struggle of Modern architecture is a struggle against pretentiousness against every excess and for a human scale” E. May Romerstadt 1927 Riedhof 1928
20. Mendelsohn - Expression of spirit <ul><li>“ Function + dynamics is the challenge” </li></ul><ul><li>Art needs to be an expression of a spiritual order and reveals the inner processes and rhythms of nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Architecture is the union of the sensually appreciable mass and the transcendent mass of light </li></ul>Einstein Tower 1920 Schocken Department Store 1928
21. … Due to its “ decadent” “materialist” “nomadic” “jewish” “Bolshevik” “abstract” “ International” qualities 1933 National Socialists in power The Bauhaus is closed down
22. … Rechter, Sharon, Neufeld came home … Mendelsohn came to Palestine The fifth Aliya 1929-39 250,000 people
23. And now for the Architects Immigrated from Eastern Europe and Russia Left to study architecture and work in Europe Returned, founded the “Chug” and started working Most of the major buildings were constructed 1919 1925 1933 1934 Zeev Rechter Joseph Neufeld Arieh Sharon
25. Zeev Rechter Worked for Le Corbusier 1929-31 Engel House 1934
26. Arieh Sharon Studied at the Bauhaus under Gropius. Worked with H. Meyer. Meunot DEF 1934
27. Joseph Neufeld Worked for Mendelsohn(1926-29) in Berlin & Bruno Taut in Moscow (1929-32) Kupat Holim Centre 1938
28. Erich Mendelsohn Palestine -1934-1941 Weizman House 1935 “ the organic culture of the east rooted in the unity of man and Nature needs only to be dug with the mature technique of the western hemisphere in order to secure the common future of the Semitic world” Hadassah Hospital 1934-39