The Weizmann House by Erich Mendelsohn
Iconic Houses Lecture 2017 by architect Tal Eyal
The Weizmann House was designed and built by world-renowned German Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn (1887–1953) between 1934–37 as private residence for Dr. Chaim Weizmann, who was the first President of the State of Israel, and Dr. Vera Weizmann. The chosen location was Rehovot, in close vicinity to the Sieff Institute founded by Dr. Weizmann in 1934 (which later developed into the Weizmann Institute of Science). This was Mendelsohn's first project in the country, and his professed goal was “to construct a building which would be Oriental to such an extent as to make a European feel at home in it”.
The estate as a whole, house and garden, is reminiscent of a ship at sea, with a unique topography of wriggly terraces imitating waves. It was designed after the European model, spanning a gatekeeper's house; a driveway; a U-shaped villa built around a mirror-like pool, which created an illusion of an expanded terrain and a cooling effect for the Mediterranean heat; a well house; and open gardens. The couple's villa was an International-style edifice combining elements of a typical Mediterranean courtyard house, much like the bulk of modern local architecture, which exhibited a blend of a high-standard European design with Mediterranean adaptations.
Established in Tel Aviv in 2004, Tal Eyal Architecture specializes in architectural planning in existing urban environments and architectural-historical research on a municipal scale. Founding-owner Tal Eyal is a graduate (B. Arch.) of the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology (1994). She worked in the Conservation Team of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality (1997–2003) and participated in the application for nomination of the ‘White City of Tel Aviv’ for the World Heritage list (nominated 2003). She won a fellowship under the UNESCO Fellowship for higher studies in conservation and restoration at UPC, Barcelona (2003). Since 2010 Eyal serves as conservation consultant to the Weizmann Institute, and is in charge of the conservation of the Weizmann House currently underway.
MENDELSOHN’S INCESSANT VISIONS
This award-winning creative homage illuminates the life of Expressionist architect Erich Mendelsohn. The visionary Mendelsohn, a contemporary of Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, produced works that have influenced generations of architects. His story unfolds through the letter exchange with Louise, a beautiful young cellist, who became his wife. The film gently breathes life into the correspondence of two passionate artists who helped each other weather a turbulent time in history. Mendelsohn's career followed the jagged trajectory of many German Jewish émigrés fleeing Nazism; he worked in England, Israel and finally, in the USA. Mendelsohn's drawings pulsate with energy and his buildings are stunning. His earlier work, the Einstein Tower, is one of the most important exemplars of modern architecture. Critically-acclaimed filmmaker Duki Dror, deftly juxtaposes the architect's original designs with contemporary images, weaving in reflections from architects and locals who use these unique buildings today – a testament to the integrity and timelessness of his visionary design.
2012 Winner of the prestigious Golden Award (FILAF d'OR) France International Festival for Films on Art.
You can watch the trailer here.
3rd European Iconic Houses Lecture Tour
The Weizmann House is a member of the Iconic Houses Network, which connects architecturally significant houses from the 20th century that are open to the public as house museums. In 2014, Iconic Houses started a new initiative together with four European member houses, to bring an international speaker to Europe for a lecture tour. Our first speaker was Henry Urbach, director of Philip Johnson’s Glass House. In 2015, we continued the initiative, by welcoming Lynda Waggoner on a European tour, the director of Fallingwater and a member of the advisory board of the Iconic Houses Network.
The tour has been arranged with the cooperation of Het Nieuwe Instituut in the Netherlands, Villa Tugendhat in Czech Republic and Villa Stenersen in Norway. The Ungers Archive for Architectural Research is organizing the lecture at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Germany.
THE LECTURE TAKES PLACE ON FRIDAY, 12 MAY 2017, AT 7 PM.
(a tour of the villa is not included in the lecture)
The lecture will be in English.
Entrance fee is 100 CZK; students and senior citizens 50 CZK.
Booking is required to the lecture by phone +420 515 511 015/017 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(limited capacity of 70 people).
You can download a poster here.