|Ph.D Student||Klingbil Shiloh Shani|
|Subject||Austerity Villas: Architecture, Interior Design and Social|
Class in Israel (1948-1967)
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Alona Nitzan-Shiftan|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
The Israeli historiographic research anchors the development of its social and cultural profile in its first two decades. In those years, Israel established its sovereignty and character as a welfare state grounded in the values of modesty and collectivity. Architectural research could align with this position by highlighting the broad investment in the national housing project. However, an examination of land policies in this period unravels a simultaneous yet opposite process which grew under the auspices of the state in parallel to the housing project and marked the development of a new middle class in Israel.
This research focuses on the spatial dimension. It historically analyses the placement of a standard “residential unit” on the ground, and its evolution into a “villa” in designated neighborhoods. The ownership of the land allowed architects and homeowners to design their villas as a manifestation of their social and cultural perceptions.
The research focuses on four neighborhoods that were built on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. These neighborhoods were relatively detached geographic environments and can serve as spatial petri dishes that allow to characterize the process of structuring a social class, and its cultural and spatial aspects. Two of the neighborhoods - Herzliya Pituach and Savyon - were planned for middle class immigrants from Western countries. Against this control group, the research studies two different neighborhoods - Afeka and Zahala. These were established under state sponsorship to accommodate those close to the establishment.
In all four neighborhoods one finds single family homes with an austere external design, yet with new schemes of interior design. The analysis of this setup allows studying the cultural similarity that is created between the two groups. The similarity, particularly in the interior design, between the villas, creates a prism through which the research investigates the mobility of cultural and social patterns. Through this prism, one can diagnose the villa - as a mechanism for converting the social and cultural capital of groups associated with the establishment into the economic capital of the affluent middle class and the assimilation of its dispositions.
The research suggests that the cultural resemblance between the t groups forms a foundation for a new social class. It examined this proposition from an architectural and interior design perspective, and demonstrates how contemporary architectural tools influenced this process, and were also impacted by its force. Particular attention is drawn to the interior design scheme, which first appeared during these years, and ultimately became the accepted spatial scheme of the Israeli middle-class home. The research focuses on how the new scheme influences the different parts of the home and examines how its adoption led to the creation of new ways of conducting a sense of dwelling in the home. These manners of conduct of living, in turn, influenced the lifestyle of the villas’ residents. The interior spaces under review are the spatial expression of the architects as agents in cultural and social processes, and the scheme they developed is a concealed expression of the space’s role in social and cultural processes.