טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentReut Yarnitsky
SubjectJerusalemite Modernism: David Anatol Brutzkus and the
Creation of a Local Modern Language
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Nitzan-Shiftan Alona
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

This research examines the architectural work of David Anatol Brutzkus and its formation into a unique modern language. In 1935 Brutzkus emigrated from Berlin to Jerusalem, where he created unmistakably modern and functional architecture. His language, however, was individual and intuitive, seeking to connect and assimilate into the traditional built environment. Brutzkus architectural work in Mandate Palestine, and since 1948 in Israel, represents ‘other’ voices within the local modernism, specifically the Jerusalemite ‘otherness’, voices that were different in spirit from the dominant modernist voice of his time, By consequently defining Brutzkus architectural work on its own terms, this study challenges the architectural historiography of Israeli modernism.


Brutzkus arrived to Jerusalem after an architectural training in Berlin, particularly with Hans Poelzig and Johannes Itten. How did this training, which was foreign both to the country and to the dominant modernism among Jewish architects, lead him to develop a distinct and integrative Jerusalemite modern architecture? In order to track the development of his architectural language, the research explores the foundation of his training in the German ‘Cultural’ Modernism, while at the same time, examines his position as a Russian Jewish immigrant in Berlin of the 30s. The study questions the influence of this identity on the modern ideas he absorbed, further arguing that the interpretation and translation of the cultural modernism he acquired in Berlin can explain his unique architecture in Jerusalem. The evolution of Brutzkus’s architectural language in Jerusalem is thus a case study for understanding the transfer and transformation of modern ideas from culture to culture and from place to place, a process that widens the definition of culture itself by including in it a variety of identities and ideas.


The research examines the impact of Brutzkus’s cultural dialogues on the different projects, scales and temporalities of his work?from town planning to architecture, and from modern building to preservation and intervention in existing urban fabrics. The guiding principle that runs through the different architectural works is Brutzkus’ endeavor to reach a direct and unmediated connection with the concrete presence of the place itself. I will claim that in the course of translation Brutzkus succeeded to annul the ideological elements that charged the German cultural modernism, and focused instead on the physical and sensual attributes of the place itself. This direct and intuitive reading, particularly through the medium of paining, was the engine of his creation. Thus, despite his work and commissions for and from state institutions, his architecture opposed the political and national ideologies that stood at base of Israeli modernism, and marked his work as a unique voice in the professional and political climate in Israel at the time. By following his career this study therefore seeks to illuminate an understudied chapter in the history of architecture in Israel, and to broaden the body of knowledge pursuing the different voices of local architectural manifestation.