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BAUHAUS renovation in Israel: The Max-Liebling-House shines in a new light

German-Israeli cooperation between young painters and plasterers in Tel Aviv ends as a great success

From March until May, four teams of German trainee plasterers and painting students from vocational colleges worked together with Israeli craftsmen to participate in the most important project the Sto Foundation is funding this year: The total renovation of the listed facade of the Max-Liebling-House in Tel Aviv, which was built in the BAUHAUS style. The facade was completed on time.

A deeply symbolic world cultural heritage site

The project is significant both from a cultural-historic aspect as well as from a structural engineering and intercultural perspective: 100 years of Bauhaus. The now renovated Max-Liebling-House is one of approximately 4,000 residential buildings in the so-called "White City" built in Tel Aviv after 1933 by Jewish Bauhaus architects from Germany. The buildings are typical examples of the "International style", which was characterised by Bauhaus elements. The buildings are now part of the UNESCO world cultural heritage. Approximately 2,000 buildings are listed.

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Germany and Israel, which was celebrated in 2015, both governments agreed to the complete renovation of the Max-Liebling-House in accordance with laws for listed buildings. Jeramie Hoffmann, the head of Tel Aviv's office for the preservation of monuments and the architect in charge, summarised the purpose of the project: "The renovation of the Max-Liebling-House is a symbol for the entire White City and its Bauhaus architecture: It allows the public to be more aware of the city's cultural heritage."

Young craftspeople renovate the old facade

The renovation of the facade was planned as a youth camp that brings together young German and Israeli craftspeople. It is part of the "Open for Renovation" cooperative initiative that is being coordinated by the Federal Buildings Office (ABB) in Mainz as representative of the German government and the White City office in Tel Aviv. The non-profit Sto Foundation financed and organised the German-Israeli facade renovation workshop. The project is also supported by the vocational school in Leonberg and the competence centre for plasterers in Rutesheim.

Each of the three teams of five trainee plasterers from the vocational training school in Leonberg worked for one week on the facade of the Max-Liebling-House: They repaired cracks and applied deep solvent primer, adhesive primer and finishing render. Seven journeyman painters, from the German vocational colleges in Berlin, Hamburg, Hildesheim, Fulda, Lahr, Munich and Stuttgart, applied the new coat of paint. A lively exchange with the young Israeli craftsmen on site contributed to the intercultural transfer of knowledge: For example, the German craftspeople learned about the mix of render appropriate to be used in the Mediterranean air, which is rich in salt. When their work was done, the workshop participants got an impression of Tel Aviv and Israel as part of the accompanying cultural programme.

A German-Israeli site for exchange

On 19 September, the building will officially be handed over and assume its new role as a German-Israeli documentation, exchange and competence centre. For example, building owners can get advice on how they can renovate their own "Bauhaus" in accordance with laws for listed buildings. Konrad Richter, Foundation Council Member for Trades, was excited about the successful project: "The successful workshop at the Max-Liebling-House in Tel Aviv has shown once again what can be achieved when people are cooperating across borders. Working together, learning from each other, and organising their spare time together – that is our contribution to an open-minded society."

The students attending the seven German vocational colleges for painters will visit Tel Aviv again in March of next year in order to also renovate walls, ceilings, doors and window frames.

Information on Tel Aviv's White City