Ratner Huberman

  • Issue: April 1992
  • Designer: A. Vanooijen
  • Stamp size: 25.7 x 30.8 mm
  • Plate no.: 64
  • 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 architecture in the world.

Yohanan (Eugen) Ratner (1891-1965)

Yohanan Ratner was born in 1891 in Odessa. He was an officer in the Russian Army during World War I and after the war he completed his studies in architecture in Germany. In 1923 Ratner came to live in Eretz Israel and worked both as an architect and as a member of the National Command of the "Hagana". This combination of his two interests led to the establishment of the "Homa and Migdal" ("Stockade and Tower") settlements.

Ratner was a Brigadier General during the War of Independence. From 1948 to 1951 he was a military attaché in Moscow. When he returned to Israel he was appointed Professor of the Architecture Faculty at the Haifa Technion and had a great influence on the new generation of architects. He designed many public and private buildings in Israel, including the National Institutions Building in Jerusalem, the Pioneer Women's House, the Aeronautical Building in the Technion, Haifa, the Geography Faculty Building at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and the Sde Boker Research Centre. When Ratner died in 1965, Yigal Allon said of him: "I never met anyone with more complete personal and intellectual honesty than Yohanan'.

The stamp depicts The National Institutions Building built between 1928 and 1932 in Jerusalem with the offices of the Jewish Agency, the Zionist Management, Keren Hayesod Foundation Fund and Keren Kayemet National Fund.

The design and planning of this first public building in Eretz Israel were chosen by public competition. Thirty-three designs were submitted by Jewish architects in Israel, with styles ranging from local eclecticism to extreme modernism. Ratners work was accepted as the most suitable, being both functional and representative.

The main building is accentuated by a large veranda on pillars. The impressive internal courtyard is oval with a wide opening to the street. The courtyard is enclosed by the offices and the main building.

By using simple cubist shapes, both in the exterior and interior, and with fine attention to detail, Ratner gave the National Institutions Building an air of simplicity and majesty which still remains today despite many changes and additions to the building over the years.

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Architecture in Israel (IV)