White City of Tel-Aviv -- the Modern Movement
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed as a metropolitan city under the British Mandate in Palestine. The White City was constructed from the early 1930s until the 1950s, based on the urban plan by Sir Patrick Geddes, reflecting modern organic planning principles. The buildings were designed by architects who were trained in Europe where they practised their profession before immigrating. They created an outstanding architectural ensemble of the Modern Movement in a new cultural context.
Outstanding Universal Value
The city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 to the immediate north of the walled port city of Jaffa, on the hills along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. During the era of British rule in Palestine (1917-1948) it developed into a thriving urban centre, becoming Israel's foremost economic and metropolitan nucleus.
The serial property consists of three separate zones, the central White City, Lev Hair and Rothschild Avenue, and the Bialik Area, surrounded by a common buffer zone.
The White City of Tel Aviv can be seen as an outstanding example in a large scale of the innovative town-planning ideas of the first part of the 20th century. The architecture is a synthetic representation of some of the most significant trends of Modern Movement in architecture, as it developed in Europe. The White City is also an outstanding example of the implementation of these trends taking into account local cultural traditions and climatic conditions.
Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed rapidly under the British Mandate in Palestine. The area of the White City forms its central part, and is based on the urban master plan by Sir Patrick Geddes (1925-27), one of the foremost theorists in the early modern period. Tel Aviv is his only large-scale urban realization, not a 'garden city', but an urban entity of physical, economic, social and human needs based on an environmental approach. He developed such innovative notions as 'conurbation' and 'environment', and was pioneer in his insight into the nature of city as an organism constantly changing in time and space, as a homogeneous urban and rural evolving landscape. His scientific principles in town planning, based on a new vision of a 'site' and 'region', influenced urban planning in the 20th century internationally. These are issues that are reflected in his master plan of Tel Aviv.
The buildings were designed by a large number of architects, who had been trained and had practised in various European countries. In their work in Tel Aviv, they represented the plurality of the creative trends of modernism, but they also took into account the local, cultural quality of the site. None of the European or North-Africa realizations exhibit such a synthesis of the modernistic picture nor are they at the same scale. The buildings of Tel Aviv are further enriched by local traditions; the design was adapted to the specific climatic conditions of the site, giving a particular character to the buildings and to the ensemble as a whole.
Criterion (ii): The White City of Tel Aviv 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.
Criterion (iv): The White City of Tel Aviv is an outstanding example of new town planning and architecture in the early 20th century, adapted to the requirements of a particular cultural and geographic context.
The spirit of the Geddes plan has been well preserved in the various aspects of urban design (morphology, parcelling, hierarchy and profiles of streets, proportions of open and closed spaces, green areas). The urban infrastructure is intact, with the exception of Dizengoff Circle, where traffic and pedestrian schemes have been changed, although efforts are being made to reinstate the original plan Incremental changes could affect the integrity of the urban ensemble in the future. There are some visible changes in the buffer zone due to new construction and commercial development in the 1960s-1990s including some office and residential structures that are out of scale. The White City is encapsulated inside a ring of high-rise structures, which has obviously altered the initial relationship with its context. Any further development could impact on its visual integrity.
The authenticity of architectural design has been fairly well preserved, proven by homogeneous visual perception of urban fabric, the integrity of style, typology, character of streets, relationship of green areas and urban elements, including, fountains, pergolas and gardens. The details of entrance lobbies, staircases, railings, wooden mailboxes, front and apartment doors, window frames have generally not been changed, though there are some losses - as in most historic towns.
The design of some individual buildings has been modified through rooftop additions even in registered buildings. Although within certain limits, such additions could be perceived as part of traditional continuity, to keep Tel Aviv as a vibrant, living city, attention will need to be given to ensure, the quantity of remodelled buildings is not enough to alter the urban profile, the original scale or parameters of the site.
Protection and management requirements (2010)
Management is covered and incorporated in urban and territorial plans. These include the National Master Plan TaMA 35, with the relevant section 58 on the 'Urban Conservation Ensemble in Central Tel Aviv - Jaffa', and the Regional Master Plan TMM 5 providing the main planning instrument for the Tel Aviv conservation area. Management policies include programmes to encourage tourist activities, provide information, and placing an emphasis on conservation. It would be desirable to consider the possibility to provide legal protection at the national level to recent heritage.
Deposited in 2002, Conservation Plan (2650B) was approved in 2008. As the majority of the approximately 1,000 historic buildings identified in this document, and other focused local plans, are privately owned, a strategy allowing the transfer of building rights has been implemented to compensate for the loss of those rights. This specifically includes the stringent conditions applying to 180 buildings to which no changes are allowed. Within defined limitations, the application of permitted additional floors to the other remaining protected buildings has been allowed.
A special process has been established for the evaluation, approval and supervision of building permits and construction within the inscribed area. This is managed and controlled by the Municipality's Conservation Unit that currently employs eight trained architects. With the intention of providing measures to improve the control of changes in existing fabric, in view of existing real estate pressures, development trends are continually monitored by the Municipality.
With reference to the Operational Guidelines Annex 3 (concerning New Towns of the 20th century) it is essential for the city of Tel Aviv to ensure moderated and controlled growth in the historic core area. Accordingly, height limits are to be proposed for the property and its buffer zone.
The White City of Tel-Aviv 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.
Tel Aviv developed to the north of the city of Jaffa, on the hills along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The property consists of three selected urban areas were built in the 1930s, based on the urban master plan by the British architect Patrick Geddes. The Geddes plan identified an area that was conceived as a 'garden city,' but with a more urban character than those built earlier. There was a free-standing building on each lot, surrounded by a garden, and the ground plan should not be more than one-third of the lot. The development of Tel Aviv follows a succession of urban plans, starting from ancient Jaffa, and including the historic quarters of Neve Zedek (1896), Achuzat Bayit (1909), the Red City, Lev Hayir and, finally, the White City of Tel-Aviv (1931-47).
Historically, the beginning is marked by 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 centre is on the highest point, the Circus of Zina Dizengoff with the Habima Theatre, a museum pavilion, and the Mann Auditorium. The buildings are mainly three to four storeys high, with flat roofs, plaster rendering, some decorative features, and the colour scheme ranging from cream to white. The Northern White City, beyond the Ben Gurion Boulevard, was built somewhat later. The western part is similar to the Central White City, not until 1948. The eastern part dates from the late 1940s to 1960s, and it was built to lower standards, in a period of recession. The southern section of the Northern White City is included in the buffer zone.
The 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 canopiesSource: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
The Jewish population living in the Ottoman Palestine at the end of the 19th century had mainly come from Spain in the 16th century. Following the First World War, the Palestine territories became a British mandate in 1920. Due to growing anti-Semitism in Europe, large groups of Jewish immigrants started arriving to Palestine in the early 20th century, first from Russia and Poland, and then again from 1933 onwards. The political movement advocating the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, opposing the Diaspora, has been called Zionism.
Tel Aviv's origins go back to the Ottoman Jaffa, a walled city in the midst of agricultural land in the early 19th century. Towards the end of the century, also due to the construction of Suez Canal, Jaffa developed into a commercial harbour, as well as being the port for pilgrims to the Holy Land. A decree of 1856 allowed foreigners to acquire land, which led to the development of suburban areas. The first Jewish settlement north of Jaffa was Neve Zedek, founded in 1887-96. In 1908-09, a group of affluent merchants established Achuzat Bayit as a garden suburb, later named Tel Aviv.
From 1920 to 1925, Tel Aviv's population grew from 2,000 to 34,000, and the construction followed a variety of styles, combined with local Oriental motives. The first master plan (1921) for a new settlement was prepared by Richard Kauffmann. The Scottish architect Patrick Geddes designed a new plan in 1925, which was ratified in 1927 and approved with amendments in 1938. The construction started in the early 1930s; the designers were the newly immigrated architects who had been formed in Europe, and who implemented here the modernist vision. At the same time, the trends in Europe were changing due to new political situations.
The main influences to modernist architecture in Tel Aviv came from the teachings of the Bauhaus (19 architects had studied at the Bauhaus school), and from the examples of Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn. The architects included Joseph Neufeld and Carl Rubin who worked with Mendelsohn, who was a friend of Richard Kauffmann's. Arie Sharon, Shmuel Mistechkin, and Shlomo Bernstein studied at the Bauhaus school; Sam Barkai and Shlomo Bernstein worked in Le Corbusier's office, and Ze'ev Rechter studied in Paris. Dov Karmi, Genia Averbuch, and Benjamin Anekstein were amongst those who studied in Gent and Brussels; others were influenced by Terragni and Pagano in Italy. Mendelsohn worked in Israel from 1934 to 1942 (mainly in Haifa and Jerusalem).Source: Advisory Body Evaluation