The expansion of Tel Aviv in the 1930s offered a blank canvas for a wave of young Jewish architects fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany.
This wave of designers brought with them the ideas of the Bauhaus School which shaped the culture and appearance of the new city. Bauhaus emphasized clean lines and low costs, ideal for the quick construction of apartment blocks to house the fast-growing population. Thousands of buildings sprang up in a short time, of which some 4,000 remain, giving a consistent look that saw Tel Aviv’s so-called “White City” added to the Unesco World Heritage list in 2004.
As an adaptation to the heat of the region, the large windows key to the style were made smaller while walls were painted white – hence the "White City" nickname. The flat roofs encouraged residents to socialize together in the cool of evening, and the concrete construction absorbed heat in summer, sending people into the streets to help create Tel Aviv’s café culture and busy nightlife.
The Bauhaus philosophy also added services such as childcare, shops, neighborhood parks and allotments for vegetable growing, creating an immediate sense of community for the diverse arrivals from all over the world.
The Neve Tzedek neighborhood is a good place to see some of the early Bauhaus designs, while the hipster-friendly Florentin district also showcases the style.