Dr. Sigal Davidi:
Pioneers of Modernism
German and Austrian Women Architects in Pre-State Israel
Women architects began working in British Mandate Palestine (1920-1948) in 1921, with the arrival of architect Lotte Cohn from Berlin. In the late 1930s, seventeen women architects were already working locally, most of them graduates of Technische Hochschule in Germany and Austria who immigrated after the Nazi rise to power in Germany.
Women architects have left a distinctive mark on the local architecture, fostering and promoting the ideas of modernist architecture. Apart from planning residential neighborhoods, villas, and apartment buildings, they planned urban projects and large-scale public buildings, thus enhancing the social and cultural fabric of the nascent Jewish community.
The lecture will highlight the notable part women architects played in laying the foundations of the new Jewish society in Mandatory Palestine by planning many of its social and cultural institutions. Special emphasis will be put on architects Dora Gad, Anna Klapholz and Helene Roth, graduates of the Technische Hochschule Vienna, and their work during the Mandatory Era and after the establishment of the State of Israel.
Dr. Sigal Davidi is an architect and an architectural historian, lecturing at the Tel Aviv University School of Architecture. She writes and lectures on the history of architecture in Israel, with special interest in modernist architecture and women architects in pre-state Israel. Her book on women architects in pre-state Israel will be published in Hebrew this year.