The home of Zina and Meir Dizengoff
, the first mayor of Tel- Aviv, was one of the first buildings in the Ahuzat Bayit neighborhood, of which Dizengoff was one of its founders and the head of its local committee.
Originally it was a one-storey building with a tiled roof. In the
1920s a second floor was added. After Zina’s death in 1930,
Dizengoff decided to donate the building in order to establish an art museum. In one of his last speeches he said: “The museum will serve as a citadel of art and a source of creativity for all those with ? who are devoted to spiritual creation. It will serve as an educational center for adults and youth with the goal of developing a sense of good taste.”
The building served as the Tel-Aviv Museum of Art
from April 1932, while Dizengoff lived in a small apartment built for him on the roof. The building also housed a credit bank and the offices of the Belgian Consulate.?
The building was expanded several times in order to make it suitable for a museum. At first several rooms were added, as well a two-room roof apartment which served as Dizengoff’s residence, according to plans of architect Dov Hershkovitz. In 1933 a decision was taken to design a more comprehensive plan to comply with the building’s new role, according to the recommendations of Dr. Carl Shwartz, who Dizengoff had invited to serve as the museums’ artistic director, and the plans of architect Carl Rubin.
The new plan added 188 sq.m to the exhibit space (until then it had been 238 sq.m), and changed the building’s façade; the windows were made smaller and a wide staircase in the entrance was added. On February 23, 1936, the redesigned museum opened in an official ceremony in the presence of the British high High commissioner Commissioner.
In his will Dizengoff bequeathed his home to the children and residents of Tel-Aviv: “My last request of the Tel-Aviv residents. I devoted a large portion of my life to this city, and now that I am about to bid you farewell I would like to leave in your custody my favorite child, the Tel-Aviv Museum
. Please take good care of it; one day it will become the pride and glory of our city.”