Civic Building – Beit Ha’ir

The setting up of the city of Tel Aviv urges the need for a proper government office. The growing of population and size of Tel Aviv particularly during the 1920s intensifies this demand and the government sought suitable existing buildings as a substitute for the old one. The Beit-Hair, formerly Hotel Sakura (1924), by Moses Churner, owned by Englishman Abraham Sakura, was chosen as the appropriate venue to house the clerical operations before the new government building could be finished. It has been bought entirely and became the official city hall of Tel Aviv in 1928 due to financial difficulties in completing the originally planned new building.

A building of heavy European influence in architectural styles, with curved balcony, rounded facade and winding stairways, Beit-Hair has been the city hall of Tel Aviv for over 40 years, before the office being relocated to the newly built Rabin Square (formerly Malchey Israel Square) in 1965. It has represented and portrayed the image of the new Tel Aviv and by extension Israel to the millions of Jews in the world. Although aiming to provide hope and a refreshing idea of ‘new city’, the city hall for 40 years still living under the shadows of the Europeans’ instead of something entirely ‘new’ or with strong cultural roots of the identity of the Jews. It is until the 60s that Tel Aviv authorities began to re-package themselves as a brand new power with their newly-launched government complex. This fact is strong and vital to the identity of Tel Aviv and faith of the Israeli and Jews. The city claims to be ‘new’, yet not without predecessors.

Beit-Hair. Photography: Avraham Soskin. Levon Institute- Ha’Avoda archive

 

Schlör, Joachim. Tel Aviv : from dream to city. London: Reaktion, 1999.

Beithair. “The Building”. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://beithair.org/en/the_building

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