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Sunday, June 13, 2004

THE WORLD’S BIGGEST BAUHAUS MUSEUM Now, I understand that taste is taste but I just love Bauhaus architecture. This week the UNESCO has officially transferred its protection status onto the old city centre of Tel Aviv. To be honest I had completely forgotten about Tel Aviv’s unique architectural heritage after I abandoned architecture for politics, but the UNESCO’s move last year refreshed my memory.
I can only agree with the point many critics have raised, that it’s a great shame that little effort has been put into preserving these buildings. According to the Jerusalem Post it’s the fault of the old bogeyman rent control, but they would say that wouldn’t they? But honestly, I think if we put a premium on preserving these gems, abolishing rent controls, while consistently enforcing the protection of listed buildings would bring the desired result. In Wiesbaden, Germany, where I used to live, the results of such a policy can be admired throughout the town; virtually none of the houses built between 1871 and 1914 have been torn down, and the vast majority of them, both in high-cost and low-cost neighbourhoods are fantastically preserved. It would be a wise and necessary move by the Israeli government or the Tel Aviv government to conduct the same policy.
The only caution I must add is that in most recent times, the renovators in Wiesbaden have become a little overzealous, which leads to the rather less attractive impression that the buildings in question don’t always look patched-up, but in fact look brand new. I know far too many people who think this is a good thing, but not me. However, that is avoidable and the rule of thumb I would use is that you should do nothing with the look of the building that building industry wouldn’t have been capable at the time of its construction.
I don’t want to leave you hanging in open space here, so if you want an idea what I'm talking about here's a finder via street map and you can find a little more info here. I'll provide some more links at a later date.

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