The White City

By Dora Dmitriev

When visiting Israel over the holidays, I finally went on the Tel Aviv Bauhaus Tour. Tel Aviv is home to more Bauhaus buildings than any other city in the world.


Dizengoff Circle

An easy self-guided walking tour takes you through several streets in Tel Aviv that display some of the 4,000 buildings built in the Bauhaus International Style in the 1930s. During this time there was an increase of German Jewish architects who immigrated after the rise of the Nazis, bringing the Bauhaus International style with them.

Buildings included in the tour

North of Jaffa, the sand dunes were becoming a populous residential suburb with great need for more housing to accommodate the growing population. Many architects at the time were from the Bauhaus school, and so the White City was born.

5 Yael Street

The Tel Aviv Bauhaus 5 architectural points focused on roof gardens, ribbon windows, open floor plans, envelope, and pilotis.

3 Yael Street

Although the Bauhaus movement originated in Germany, the features of the style proved to be a great fit to Tel Aviv’s climate and culture. White buildings reflected the heat, surrounding gardens provided shade, and balconies provided shade for the apartments below them as well as airflow throughout the space. Some balconies were designed with cut out openings to ensure that heat wouldn’t become trapped between floors.

Balconies with cut out openings

Tall buildings became known for their "thermometer" windows, a long row of vertical windows along the staircase, again ensuring air circulation.

5 Frug Street, known as the "Vertebrae building"

To accommodate the hot climate, the Bauhaus’ glass curtain walls were replaced by small recessed windows to prevent outside heat from entering.

20 Shlomo Hamelech St. with ribbon windows

Curves, theatrical elements, and asymmetry in the plastered, concrete buildings elevated the inexpensive material, exhibiting some Art Deco influence. 

Curved balconies, asymmetry and theatrical elements

Flat roofs were implemented for a space to socialize after sunset. Buildings were constructed raised on pilotis, allowing cool air and wind to circulate the apartments and providing a safe, shaded area for kids to play.

Building with pilotis

When in Tel Aviv, the Bauhaus tour is a must. Still not convinced? The White City of Tel Aviv is also a designated World Cultural Heritage site by UNESCO.