The Weizmann House in Rehovot, Israel (1934-1937) was designed by the Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn for Chaim Weizmann, biochemist, Zionist leader and, in 1949, the first president of Israel, and his wife Vera. Architect Tal Eyal advised on the renovation of the Weizmann House, which will be completed this year.
The house for the Weizmanns was Mendelsohn’s first project in Israel. The estate, situated at the top of a hill, is designed according to a European model, with a porter’s house, a drive, gardens and a U-shaped villa around a swimming pool. The villa is in the modernist International Style, combined with elements from local, Mediterranean construction.
Mendelsohn (1887-1953) is considered one of the most important architects of the twentieth century. In the 1920s he worked in an organic Expressionist style and later in his career in a modernist style. He occupied a moderate position between the Functionalists and the more traditional architects. For example, he struck a conciliatory tone in the heated debate between the architects of the Amsterdam School and De Stijl in 1923: ‘Certainly, the primary element is function, but function without a sensual component remains simply construction. More than ever, I stand behind my programme of conciliation. Both are necessary; both must be present.’ "(source)
In 1949 the Weizmann House became the president’s official residence until Weizmann’s death three years later. Upon her death in 1966, Vera Weizmann bequeathed the house and its contents to the State of Israel. The first renovation was undertaken in 1978, after which the house was opened to the public as a museum.
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 of the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. She worked in the Conservation Team of the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality from 1997 until 2003. Since 2010 Eyal serves as conservation consultant to the Weizmann Institute, and is in charge of the renovation of the Weizmann House currently underway.
The lecture will be followed by a screening of the 2011 documentary film ‘Mendelsohn’s Incessant Visions’ by Duki Dror (subject to change). There is also a presentation of original pieces relating to Erich Mendelsohn from the archive of Het Nieuwe Instituut.
Like Sonneveld House, the Weizmann House is part of the Iconic Houses Network. Its website offers an overview of modern house museums and architects' houses world wide, open to the public. Iconic Houses is also an organisation for professionals who are active in the management of house museums, aiming at sharing knowledge and expertise in the field of conservation, presentation and reaching an audience.
This lecture is part of the third lecture tour organised by Iconic Houses, in which experts are invited to speak in various European museums and historic houses. Previous guests include Henry Urbach, director of the Philip Johnson Glass House, and Lynda Waggoner, director of Fallingwater.
Het Nieuwe Instituut
3015 CB Rotterdam
Free, please register via Tickets