2004 Tel Aviv was inscribed on the World Heritage list of Unesco – because of the largest concentration of Bauhaus buildings worldwide. Mosche Zahry’s father Zeev Rechter was one of the architects who defined what Israelian architecture is – based on the Bauhaus principles, with their emphasis on functionality and inexpensive building materials, it lead to the ideal of the ‘White City’. Bauhaus architecture flourished in Tel Aviv in the 1930’s due to that former Bauhaus students, who worked locally as architects. One of them was Moshe’s father in law, Zeev Rechter. When architect Daniel Zarhy took us, journalist Adam Stech, designer Martin Zampach and me to meet his grandfather to see his house I didn’t knew that I will meet Vera Ronnen. She is an Enamelist, his 2nd wife and a graceful, energetic lady. I rarely have been that impressed by someone before. They got married in 2005 – Moshe was 81 years old and Vera 76. The two families were friends for a long time, Vera got divorced, Moshe lost his wife and the romance began.
Enamel meets architecture – a garden sculpture by Vera Ronnen at the house that Mosche Zhary build in 1954 in his private residency in Ramat Hasharon, a city near Tel Aviv.
Vera Ronnen with her 3rd husband, architect Moshe Zarhy at their kitchen table in their livingroom
In the Basement of the residency Vera Ronnen got one of her ateliers. The Hungary-born artist studied at Beaux Art In Geneva where she came across enamel and has done it ever since. She was in her early 20ies when she arrived in Israel to visit her brother George and met her first husband. Shortly after she started teaching at Bezalel Academy in Jerusalem. There was a language barrier but she found her way and Israel became home to her.
Back than she was mainly doing jewlery pieces but after she spend some time in South Africa with her husband and her two daugthers, she started to make large scale pieces which lead to commissions by various Swiss architects in 1964. For example the Lobby of Diener & Diener Architects and 8 murals and 16 elevator doors at Sandoz Novartis Personalrestaurant. Both artworks are in Basel, Switzerland. She grew and developed as artist and was able to pay back her parents. She still has a studio in London, which she still uses to make her craft and work for her clients.
The Bauhaus building is cubic, flat roof, long, narrow, horizontal windows and the colors is white – typical Bauhaus characteristics
A fireplace in the garden of the Zarhy residency
The porch of the Bauhaus builing in Ramat Hasharon. As many Bauhaus objects this house is in need to be restored.
The kitchen – the interior reflects a functional, open floor plan. Generally, the interior of Bauhaus homes are often minimalist. It is designed by Moshe.
Moshe Zarhy is most of all famous for the Health Facilitues in Israel. This book is a self publication about his work.
I met the Daniel, the gandson of Mosche, and his wife Netta in Basel in 2011, shortly before they moved back to their home country. Both came to Depot Basel with a group of Herzog & de Meuron architects. I gave them a guided tour through the first exhibition we initiated and we kept in touch afterwards. Daniel worked for OMA in Rotterdam and Herzog de Meuron in Basel.
His wife is Netta Ahitiuv is journalist, among other topics she writes about world-wide architecture, arts, literature and environmental issues.
Found by Moshe Zarhy in 1955 Zarhy architects is One of Tel Aviv’s veteran architectural firms – Moshe’s son David joined the firm, and became the head in 1998. Working in architecture is a tradition that comes in its 4th generation : Zeev Rechter (1899-1960), Moshe Zarhy (1923), David Zarhy, (1951), Daniel Zarhy (1980). Netta just gave birth to a beautiful boy. I wonder if his chosen profession will continue the legacy.