IN PHOTOS: Tel Aviv’s 1930s Bauhaus Treasures Like You Haven’t Seen Them Before

‘Form and Light,’ an exhibition of Yigal Gawze’s stunning photographs of White City architecture, opens in Lisbon

Fragment 008 /	Mirenburg House, 11 Zina Dizengoff Square/13 Ben Ami st., Architect: G. Averbouch, 1936
Fragment 008 / Mirenburg House, 11 Zina Dizengoff Square/13 Ben Ami st., Architect: G. Averbouch, 1936 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 1993
Naama Riba
Naama Riba
Naama Riba
Naama Riba

For 25 years now, Israeli photographer and artist Yigal Gawze has been documenting Tel Aviv’s buildings designed in the International Style. His beautiful, unique works are now receiving recognition across the world. Last week, “Form and Light,” a photographic exhibition depicting Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus architecture of the 1930s, based on Gawze’s work, opened at the art, design and architecture museum MAAT in Lisbon.

And earlier this year, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus school, German art book publishing house Hirmer Verlag has brought out the second edition of “Form and Light: From Bauhaus to Tel Aviv,” which showcases Gawze’s best works.

Fragment 015 / Bruno House, 3 Strauss st. / Architect: Z. Haller, 1935 / Preservation Architect: Bar Orian Arch., 2004
Fragment 015 / Bruno House, 3 Strauss st. / Architect: Z. Haller, 1935 / Preservation Architect: Bar Orian Arch., 2004Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 2004
Fragment 150 /	Magnet House, 93 Rothschild blvd. / Architec: Y. Magidovich, 1934
Fragment 150 / Magnet House, 93 Rothschild blvd. / Architec: Y. Magidovich, 1934 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 1997
Fragment 070 / 	Rivkind & Portnoy House, 53 Hovevei Zion st. /  Architect: Y. Ginzburg, 1937
Fragment 070 / Rivkind & Portnoy House, 53 Hovevei Zion st. / Architect: Y. Ginzburg, 1937 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 1993

The large book – which architecture and design magazine “Dezeen” listed among its “10 books that tell you everything you need to know about the Bauhaus” – contains dozens of photographs by Gawze. Among them are some of the most important Bauhaus buildings in the city: Bruno House on 3 Strauss Street, designed by architect Ze’ev Haller in 1935; Liebling House on 29 Idelson Street (which is currently home to the White City Center), designed by architects Dov Karmi and Zvi Barack in 1936; and Beit Magnet on 93 Rothschild Blvd., designed by architect Yehuda Magidovitch in 1934.

Gawze, unlike most architectural photographers, takes his pictures at an angle, focusing on a particular section of the building rather than trying to capture the whole. He says that taking pictures in this way is part of the process through which he studies the elements that characterize this architectural style.

The cover of 'Form and Light'
The cover of 'Form and Light'Credit: Yigal Gawze / Hirmer Publishers
Fragment 067 /	Zlotopolsky House, 9 Gordon st. / Architects: D. Karmi & Z. Barack, 1935 / Preservation Architect: A. Bar Or Arch., 2002
Fragment 067 / Zlotopolsky House, 9 Gordon st. / Architects: D. Karmi & Z. Barack, 1935 / Preservation Architect: A. Bar Or Arch., 2002 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 2002
Fragment 007 /	Kiper House, 17 Emile Zola st./32 Ben Gurion blvd. / Architects: H. Sima & E. Glueck, 1936 / Preservation Architect: E. Mitrani Arch., 1999
Fragment 007 / Kiper House, 17 Emile Zola st./32 Ben Gurion blvd. / Architects: H. Sima & E. Glueck, 1936 / Preservation Architect: E. Mitrani Arch., 1999 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 2001
From the 'Form and Light' exhibition at the MAAT museum, in Lisbon, Portugal.
From the 'Form and Light' exhibition at the MAAT museum, in Lisbon, Portugal.Credit: Yigal Gawze
Fragment 145 / Allerhand House, 79 Ben Gurion blvd. /  Architects: D. Karmi & Z. Barack, 1939
Fragment 145 / Allerhand House, 79 Ben Gurion blvd. / Architects: D. Karmi & Z. Barack, 1939 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 2000

Gawze’s photographs, which were first published in 1994 in advance of an architectural conference on the International Style in Tel Aviv, have served for years as a way of branding Tel Aviv.

Later, the municipality used them in various campaigns, including one in 2003, when the White City was named a UNESCO world heritage site. In 2015, a jointly issued stamp to mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany was based on a Gawze photograph.

Fragment 008 /	Mirenburg House, 11 Zina Dizengoff Square/13 Ben Ami st., Architect: G. Averbouch, 1936
Fragment 008 / Mirenburg House, 11 Zina Dizengoff Square/13 Ben Ami st., Architect: G. Averbouch, 1936 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 1993
Fragment 015 / Bruno House, 3 Strauss st. / Architect: Z. Haller, 1935 / Preservation Architect: Bar Orian Arch., 2004
Fragment 015 / Bruno House, 3 Strauss st. / Architect: Z. Haller, 1935 / Preservation Architect: Bar Orian Arch., 2004 Credit: © Yigal Gawze, 2004
From the exhibition 'Form and Light' at the MAAT museum in Lisbon, Portugal.
From the exhibition 'Form and Light' at the MAAT museum in Lisbon, Portugal.Credit: Yigal Gawze

Over time, his collected photographs have created a kind of conceptual dictionary that depicts the changes in Tel Aviv’s white cubes, which are seemingly simple, but are comprised of many different elements.

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