As a new member of the E5A Team, I am posting my first blog article inspired by a recent visit to Israel. As a student of architecture, there is nothing more exciting to me than discovering the urban fabric of a new place. My trip stopped in Haifa, Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv - three important cities whose architectural composition of old and new depict the country's deep history as well as its current progress.
While both Haifa and Jerusalem have plenty of impressive old and new buildings, Tel Aviv is perhaps the most architecturally interesting of the three. This vibrant, liberal city bustling with hi-tech startups, art, and design (not unlike Austin!) also surprisingly boasts the world's largest collection of modernist Bauhaus architecture. German Jewish architects fleeing from Nazi Europe in the 1930s needed to quickly house all of the immigrants coming to Tel Aviv, so the functional and inexpensive nature of the International Style was perfectly suited to their needs. The white colored, solid walls helped to reflect the heat of the Mediterranean and desert climate, while the typical large expanses of glass were substituted for small recessed windows.
The Eclectic Style in Tel Aviv became the new architectural language for the city, characterized by ornamentation, symmetry, domes, arches, and hanged balconies - merging notions of East and West.