independent school for the city

School's Out! #17 with Zvi Efrat

Zvi Efrat was our guest for School’s Out! #17 on the last Friday of April 2021! We talked with him about his latest book, The Object of Zionism - The Architecture of Israel, which is a critical study of Zionist spatial planning and the architectural fabrication of the State of Israel from the early 20th century to the 1960s and '70s. Zvi Efrat scrutinizes Israel as a singular modernist project, unprecedented in its political and ethical circumstances and its hyper-production of spatial and structural experiments.

During School’s Out! #17 Zvi Efrat presented and discussed early 20th century Zionist experiments with the fabrication of model rural communes. These communes required the invention of new spatial paradigms and accelerated the production of idiosyncratic structures. Professional theorists, at times anarchist, and space-engineers such as urban planners, architects, gardeners and agronomists, were recruited to articulate new forms of habitation, perplexingly defined as “neither urban, nor rural”. The routine of the commune entailed a constant micro-management and negotiation of common space, and developed an intricate apparatus to facilitate incessant interpretation, adaptation and reform. All stakeholders - professionals, amateurs, mediators, builders and dwellers – acted out and habitually changed roles in playing architecture between its totaling and improvised ends.

About Zvi Efrat
Zvi Efrat is an architect and an architectural historian. He is partner at Efrat-Kowalsky Architects (EKA) and was Head of the Department of Architecture at the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem (2002-2010). He has taught and lectured worldwide, published extensively and curated numerous exhibitions, among them: Borderline Disorder (The Israeli Pavilion at the 8th Architectural Biennale, Venice, 2002); The Object of Zionism, Swiss Architecture Museum, Basel, 2011); and Communal by Commune (HKW, Berlin, 2015). His book, The Israeli Project: Building and Architecture 1948-1973, was published in Hebrew in 2004 by the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. His book The Object of Zionism, The Architecture of Israel was published by Spector Books, Leipzig, in 2018. His film The Most Beautiful Campus in Africa was shown at the Bauhaus Imaginista exhibition at HKW Berlin, 2019.