Huberman Mendelsohn

  • Issue: April 1991
  • Designer: A. Vanooijen
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 108
  • Sheet of 20 stamps Tabs: 4
  • Printers: Government Printers
  • Method of printing: Photogravure

With the Jewish People's return to the Land of Israel, it became necessary to plan and implement a new infrastructure for urban and rural locations. Such infrastructure included housing, public buildings, and agricultural and industrial facilities.

Architects tried to combine elements of European architecture and technological innovations to suit the prevailing climatic, topographical and social conditions.

Starting from scratch gave the designer's imagination free rein. Economic and social difficulties notwithstanding, functional and aesthetic solutions were produced which compare favourably with the best in the world.

Erich Mendelsohn (1887 - 1953)

Erich Mendelsohn, who was born in Germany and died in the USA, is considered one of the most important architects of the 20th century. One of his first buildings, the "Einstein Tower" (1919 - 1921), near Berlin, received much acclaim. Mendelsohn built a large number of private and public buildings, including the Schocken department stores in Germany. His designs were characterised by the International Style, in which clean lines with a stress on the horizontal were dynamically integrated with rounded elements. In 1923, he arrived in Palestine on his first visit. He produced many designs, particularly in the Haifa area, which were, however, never built. In 1933, Mendelsohn, as a Jew was forced to leave Berlin, where his office, one of the city's largest firms of architects, was situated. He subsequently divided his time between England and Palestine. In Jerusalem, he lived and worked in the old windmill in the Rehavia neighbourhood. He had many commissions, including designing the Hebrew University and the Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus, a hospital in Haifa, the Schocken family home and library in Jerusalem, and the house of Dr. Chaim Weizmann in Rehovot. In 1941 Mendelsohn immigrated to the United states, where he primarily designed synagogues and community centres on large-scale and innovative lines. He died in San Francisco in 1953.

The stamp shows the Weizmann House in Rehovot, built in 1934-1936, which was the home of Dr. Chaim Weizmann, Israel's first president. The house stands on a hill, surrounded by plantations. The eye is attracted by its clear forms and white colour. The monumental, imposing nature of the building results in part from the spiral central staircase made of glass and concrete, contrasting with the cubic elements enclosing the courtyard with the swimming-pool. The large garden surrounding the house, the watchman's and chauffeur's quarters at the entrance, the impressive design feature at the top of the stairs, the terraces of Rehovot produce a combined effect which gives the "country" residence an official and imposing air. Today the house is a national site.

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Architecture in Israel (III)