The Forgotten Female Architects Who Changed the Face of Pre-state Israel

Elsa Gidoni's buildings in New York and Berlin became famous, but her work in 1930s Tel Aviv was largely forgotten. Now Gidoni and other female pioneering architects receive the spotlight

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Women planting a vegetable garden outside the Domestic Science School in Tel Aviv, designed by Elsa Gidoni, in Tel Aviv’s Nahalat Yitzhak neighborhood, 1936.
Women planting a vegetable garden outside the Domestic Science School in Tel Aviv, designed by Elsa Gidoni, in Tel Aviv’s Nahalat Yitzhak neighborhood, 1936.Credit: Personal archives of David Frenkel/Walter Christaller
Naama Riba
Naama Riba
Café Galina, designed by Elsa Gidoni for the Levant Fair in Tel Aviv, 1930. “She must be returned to the canon,” says author Sigal Davidi in her new book.Credit: Courtesy of Ilan Shchori
Lotte Cohn, left, the first female architect in Mandatory Palestine and Genia Averbuch. A ground-breaking architect who designed Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Square.Credit: Personal archive of Yael Liron and personal archive of Daniel Alperin
A porch in Beit Halutzot in Tel Aviv, designed by Elsa Gidoni. Remains more or less in its original form.Credit: Yad Ben-Zvi Archives
Stairwell in Beit Hehalutzot in Tel Aviv, designed by Elsa Gidoni. Widely praised in the press at the time.Credit: Yad Ben-Zvi Archives
Elsa Gidoni, second from right, overseeing work at WIZO’s Domestic Science School in Tel Aviv, 1936.Credit: Central Zionist Archives/Walter Christaller

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