by Yael Adar
* As of June 2016 this is site is closed for renovations. Contact (below) to make sure you can visit.
There is a good chance that if you saw this house today (with its decidedly modern look), in just about any country in the world, you would be impressed. The fact that it was built in Rehovot in 1937, makes it that much more extraordinary. During 1949-1952, the house was the official residence of Israel’s first president, Dr. Chaim Weizmann and his wife Vera.
Designed by Erich Mendelsohn, an architect who was born in East Prussia and who is most often associated with Modernism, Expressionism and the International Style – in Germany. Mendelsohn fled Nazi Germany (where most of his buildings were destroyed) to England, then to Eretz Israel and finally to the United States, in 1941. Although he spent only a few short years in Israel, Mendelsohn left his mark. Some of his other works include part of the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture (also in Rehovot) as well as Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
The geometric shaped house includes swimming a pool, not in the typical back yard location as one might expect, but rather in the front – a circular staircase, full-length windows, fireplaces and much more. The interior design of the house features many fine art objects and furnishings such as a 10th century Tang Dynasty vase, French Impressionist paintings, a Persian silk carpet and as well as gold embossed china, to name a few. The interior design is the work of Vera Weizmann. Mrs. Weizmann told Mendelsohn, “You have built a modern house. It is very lovable and livable in, but I cannot live with your interior decoration!”
It is quite apparent that much thought was given to the design of the house, its gardens (where the Weizmanns are buried) as well as its internal design. A visit to the Weizmann house will not disappoint.
SPECIAL NOTE: Be advised that you must make prior reservations to view the house.
The Weizmann House is located at the end of Ha’nasi Ha’rishon Street, Rehovot.
Visiting Hours: Hours: Sunday – Thursday 9:00 AM-4:00 PM (only with reservations)
Entry fees apply.
You can also purchase a combined ticket at the Weizmann Institute’s Levinson Visitor’s Center that includes the self-guided tour of the Weizmann Institute of Science (which also includes the Clore Garden of Science as well). The combined ticket is 40 NIS/pp and well worth it.
Barbara and Morris Levinson Visitors Center
TEL 08-934-4500 (punch 2 for English, 1 for Hebrew)