ARCHITECTURAL FORUM December 1936. Modern Architecture in Palestine by Joseph Neufeld and Erich Mendelsohn.

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December 1936

Howard Myers [Editor]

Howard Myers [Editor]: THE ARCHITECTURAL FORUM. Jersey City, NJ: Time, Inc. [Volume 65, Number 6, December 1936]. A very good or better vintage magazine with wire spiral binding and minor shelf wear. The spiral binding is in unusually good condition and does not bind any pages when opened. A nice copy thus. Interior unmarked and very clean. Out of print.

8.75 x 11.75 spiral-bound magazine with 1154 pages of editorial content showcasing the Architectural and Industrial Design of the American Streamline Moderne Machine Age aesthetic. There are also an excellent assortment of vintage trade advertisements that espouse the depression moderne streamline aesthetic quite nicely.

  • Pattern for Parks: includes sections on Long Island, Jones Beach and New York City
  • Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado by Burnham Hoyt
  • Block Department Store, Indianapolis. Indiana by Vonnegut, Bohn and Mueller, Pereira and Pereira and Kenneth C. Welch
  • San Felipe Apartments, Houston, Texas by Moore and Lloyd
  • Houses: 10 well-illustrated pages with work by Alden B. Dow [2 pages with 5 b/w illustrations] among others.
  • Sculpture: Leo Friedlander [6 pages with 9 illustrations from the Arlington Memorial Bridge and Rockefeller Center]
  • International Section: Palestine [16 pages with 37 b/w illustrations including work by J. Shiffman, Joseph Neufeld, Z. Rechter, D. Karmi, A. Sharon, A. Averbouch and F. Ginsburg, Richard Kauffmann and Erich Mendelsohn among others]
  • Departments include Building Money, Month in Building, Letters, Products and Practice, Books and Forum of Events

In the 1930s, in what was then Palestine, whole urban districts were transformed into areas of Modern architecture by architects who emigrated from Europe, bringing with them the spirit, theory, and techniques of the Bauhaus movement. The variety of Modern architecture that was built in Tel Aviv is unequalled but has been largely-ignored by architectural historians.

The world experienced the first great demonstration of both the diversity and the international quality of Modern Architecture in the Stuttgart Weißenhof estate in 1927. 16 architects from five countries presented an ensemble of 33 buildings that followed a common design principle despite all their individuality and different functional and technical aims. Walter Curt Behrendt wrote in the same year in the famous publication "Der Sieg des neuen Baustils", which had the beflagged Weißenhof estate as the title picture: "It is scarcely possible to think what a wealth of expression architecture will develop when it first starts to handle the elements of the new style as it pleases.

Although by no means the whole spectrum of Modern Architecture was represented in the Weißenhof estate, the diversity of 20s Neues Bauen in Germany was never shown in such concentrated form as in Stuttgart. Even in centres like Berlin, Frankfurt or Magdeburg, where Modern Architecture was able to develop in a more free way because of favourable local political circumstances, the buildings were either strewn around in isolation or largely uniform estates were built.

The self-imposed constraint of terrace building led to conformity and monotony in Dammerstock, Westhausen or Haselhorst even in the late 20s. And then as early as 1930 the aims and forms of Modern Architecture changed under the pressures of the economic crisis, so that the potential invoked by Behrendt was ultimately never developed in Europe.

To see the diversity and urban development possibilities offered by Modern Architecture, often reviled today, we have to look at a country outside Europe. In the 30s, in what was then Palestine, called Eretz-Israel by Jewish immigrants, whole urban districts were transformed into areas of Modern Architecture in the Bauhaus spirit; the variety offered is unequalled, but so far this work has been largely ignored by architectural historians. Architects and engineers trained in Europe were able to continue and develop what they had started in Dessau, Paris or Berlin, unhampered by ideological shackles; this was particularly true in Tel Aviv. Thus architecture was created that in a certain sense brought Modernism to completion.