Zvi Efrat (Tel Aviv): The Israeli 1960s Avant Garde and Its Discontents

In the early 1960s, a highly self-reflexive architectural avant-garde emerged in Israel. A group of architects converging at the faculty of architecture at the Technion Insti­tute of Technology in Haifa aimed to defy the solidity and authority of the autonomous object with a flux of random clusters, self-replicating and ever-mutating space modules, casbah-esque mats and ziggu­rats, polyhedral matrices, collapsible space frames, cybernetic contraptions, and various other crossbreeds of system theories and bio­morphisms.

What could be portrayed in retrospect as a highly derivative local dialect of international structuralist trends was occasionally referred to as a symptomatically Israeli, or even Jewish, compulsion. Indeed, statistically speaking, a relatively large num­ber of structuralist buildings and compounds materialized in Israel in the 1960s and several of them were remarkable enough to draw international attention. Critically speaking, the phenomenon of a countercul­ture recruited to the national building project and often sponsored by the State apparatus bewildered protagonists and antagonists alike and fueled media hype.
In this lecture, I will return to the sites of 60’s architectural experiments, disrupt their self-referentiality and re-locate them in their actual urban, civic and ethical context.

Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Due to the pandemic restrictions the lecture will take place as a video conference (Zoom):
Meeting-ID: 674 5997 0613
Kenncode: 575515
Telefoneinwahl: 496971049922