Tel-Aviv-Yafo, Israel

General Information

Regional secretariat

None

The White City of Tel-Aviv - the Modern Movement

Registration Year

2003

Location and site

Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and developed under the British Mandate (1920-1948). The White City was constructed from the early 1930s till 1948, 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 practiced their profession before emigrating to Palestine. They created an outstanding architectural ensemble of the modern movement in a new cultural context.

Urban morphology

Integrity

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.

Authenticity

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.
 

Registration criteria

Criterion (ii): The White City of Tel Aviv is the synthesis of an outstanding value of the various trends of the Modern Movement in matter of architecture and urban planning at the beginning of the XXth century. These influences were adapted to the cultural and climatic conditions of the place, and integrated in the local traditions.  

Criterion (iv): The White City of Tel-Aviv is an outstanding example of urban planning and architecture of the new cities of the beginning of the XXth century, adapted to the requirements of a particular cultural and geographic context.

Historical reference

The city of Tel Aviv was founded 1909, to the north of the fortified port of Jaffa, on the hills adjacent to eastern shores of the Mediterranean. Under the British mandate in Palestine (1917-1948), it became a booming urban centre, the largest economic and urban centre of Israel.  

The property in series is made up of three distinct areas: the White City at the centre of the metropolis; Lev Hair and Rothschild Avenue; the Bialik district. The whole is surrounded by a common buffer zone.  

The White City of Tel Aviv may be considered as an outstanding and large-scale example of the new designs of urbanism in the first part of the XXth century. The architecture is a synthesis of the main trends of the Modern Movement, which was developed in Europe. The While City is also an exceptional example of the application of these trends, taking into account the cultural traditions and the local climatic conditions.

The city of Tel Aviv was founded in 1909 and has grown rapidly under the British mandate in Palestine. The White City, which is its central part, was built according to the urban plan of Sir Patrick Geddes (1925-27), one of the major theorists of the beginning of the modern age. Tel Aviv is his only large-scale urban achievement; it is not a “garden city”, but an urban entity of physical, economic, social and human needs, based on an environmental approach. He is at the origin of new concepts such as conurbation and the environment, and was a pioneer through his vision of the city as being an organism that is in constant evolution in time and space, such as an urban and rural homogenous landscape that evolves. His scientific urban planning principles based on a new vision of the “site” and the “region” had an influence on urban planning in the XXth century throughout the world.  These notions were reflected in his master plan of Tel Aviv.

The buildings were designed by numerous architects who had received their training and had worked in various European countries. Their work in Tel Aviv illustrates the plurality of the creative trends of the modern age, but taking into account the local and cultural quality of the site. No other architectural achievement of Europe or North Africa has realized such a synthesis of the modern age, or reached the same scale. The buildings of Tel Aviv are enriched by the local traditions; the architecture was adapted to the specific climatic conditions of the places, conferring a specific trait to the buildings and the ensemble.

Photos

Contact

Mr. Ron Huldai

Mayor
City Hall of Tel Aviv-Yafo

+972.3 521.8218
huldai@tel-aviv.gov.il

Mr. Doron Sapir

First Deputy Mayor
Tel-Aviv-Jaffa Municipality

+972-3 5218271
sapir_d@mail.tel-aviv.gov.il

Mr. Jeremie Hoffmann

Conservation Department Manager
Conservation Departement City Planning Division

03-7247267/03-7247268
hofman_y@mail.tel-aviv.gov.il