Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentTzafrir Fainholtz
SubjectLe Corbusier and the Zionist Movement
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors Dr. Pliouchtch Marina
Full Professors Aravot Iris
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


The dissertation examines the relationships between the French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier, the man and his work, and the Zionist movement - from the beginning of his career until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.

The study is in the field of architectural history and it is founded on three major bodies of knowledge: philosophy and Modernist planning; the history of architecture and urban planning in Israel-Palestine; and Le Corbusier's biography and work. Issues explored in this research are: common origins for the ideas and work of Le Corbusier and of the Zionist movement; the parallel cooperative rural projects of Le Corbusier and of Zionist architects: The Radiant Village the Kibbutz and the Mohav; connections between Le Corbusier and Jewish architects such as Sam Barkai and Julius Posener who were active in Palestine; the relationships between Le Corbusier, the Zionist movement and the publication of Zionist architecture in Europe through conferences, journals and international exhibitions; Le Corbusier's participation in attempts to resolve the “Jewish question” in the 1930s, and his connections with the Zionist Revisionist leader, Ze'ev Wolfgang von Weisl; and Le Corbusier's involvement in the question of immigration and Jewish settlement before and after World War II and in the years subsequent to the establishment of the State of Israel.


The thesis is based on extensive research in personal and public archives in Israel and abroad, among them the Le Corbusier Foundation (FLC) in Paris, the Julius Posener Archive in the Berlin Academy of Arts (ADK), and the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem. Through new archive material and findings this research shade light on previously unknown chapters in the life and work of Le Corbusier and reveals, among other issues, his involvement in efforts to resolve the plight of the persecuted Jews of central Europe, in the years prior to World War II, his connections with Zionist activist in Paris, and his support in the Zionist cause in the late 1940s.