He was the man on the side of Bauhaus master Gunta Stölzl: Arieh Sharon. He created a name for himself as an architect in Israel. Sharon was one of the European architects who gave the 'White City' of Tel Aviv its striking character, with its clean lines, flat roofs and white façades.

Portrait of Arieh Sharon, photo: unknown, around 1928 / © Yael Aloni.
Portrait of Arieh Sharon, photo: unknown, around 1928 / © Yael Aloni.

Arieh Sharon went to Palestine in 1920 and became a founding member of the Kibbutz Gan Schmuel, in whose planning and realisation he was involved until 1926. For the winter semester of 1926, Sharon enrolled at the Bauhaus Dessau and studied there until 1929.

Sharon attended the preliminary course in Dessau with Josef Albers and László Moholy-Nagy, as well as participating in classes taught by Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Joost Schmidt. He was among the first students in the building department, which was established in 1927 under Hannes Meyer. This, is where he completed his studies on 27 November 1929 with the Bauhaus Diploma No. 6. That same year, he married Gunta Stölzl, the junior master and director of the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus. However, they divorced in 1936. As an employee at in Hannes Meyer’s Berlin architecture office, he participated in the construction of the Trade Union School of the ADGB (Federation of German Trade Unions) in Bernau during the following two years.

In 1931, Arieh Sharon returned to Palestine and opened his own architecture office there. Sharon became a founding member in one of the first groups of avant-gardist architects and joined the urban planning committee of Tel Aviv. In the following years, he planned numerous kibbutzim and public structures and was significantly involved in building the country of Israel as a result.

Trade Union School of ADGB, Bernau near Berlin, architecture: Hannes Meyer / draft: Hans Wittwer and building department of the Bauhaus in Dessau / Photo: Junkers Luftbild, 1930. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).
Trade Union School of ADGB, Bernau near Berlin, architecture: Hannes Meyer / draft: Hans Wittwer and building department of the Bauhaus in Dessau / Photo: Junkers Luftbild, 1930. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).

After some years as a lecturer for architecture at Technicon in Haifa, he held the office of the director and head architect of the National Planning Department – which reports to the office of the prime minister – between 1948 and 1953. Under commission by David Ben Gurion, the founder of the Israeli state, Sharon created a general plan for the entire country in 1949 that included the Negev Desert. In 1954, he founded a further architecture office together with B. Idelson and was appointed during that same year by the United Nations as a planning expert for New Dehli and Burma. For the 1959 World Exhibition in Brussels, he realised the architectural design and the interior design of the Israeli Pavilion.

Arieh Sharon received numerous honours and honorary memberships. Among other things, he became an honorary member of the Royal Institute of British Architects and was awarded the Gold Medal of the Mexican Architecture Institute in 1959. In 1965, he became an honorary member of the Academy of the Arts in Berlin. 

Literature:
Warhaftig, Myra (1996): Sie legten den Grundstein, Berlin.