P. 57

It should be noted that the Hecker-Yellin firm engaged in the planning of buildings, engineering planning and construction of buildings in Jerusalem. The first house in Rehavia was planned by Eliezer Yellin for his family and although Hecker was trained as an engineer, he planned many buildings in Jerusalem with Yellin. In their letter, they noted that Hecker had also been among the winners and that the jury noted in particular the good arrangement of the rooms in his plan. "We do not wish to participate in the processing of the plans unless invited to do so", they wrote. They opined that handing the processed constructive plans to them would be advisable and reasoned that they are located in Jerusalem, that they are the first engineers and builders who settled in Jerusalem and that they have the experience in the local construction. The two added a third, more interesting reason. According to them, they had been attempting to promote the construction of a building for the Zionist Institutions for ten years now and had already submitted such a plan to Dr. Ruppin for the Zionist Congress in Karlsbad. In light of all this, they believed that they had a right to receive the work. The extensive correspondence reveals that Hecker and Yellin were the engineers and executors of the construction of the National Institutions Building and that they contributed significantly to the erection of the building.
Some researchers note that the participants in the competition received a few guidelines for the design of their plan: The competition was open to Jewish architects who operated in the Land of Israel; the building shall be an architectural unit with three wings – for the KKL-JNF, Keren Hayesod and the Zionist Executive (and its successor, the Jewish Agency); the building should be no higher than two stories; the building shall be with local masonry (the British had set a binding regulation that all buildings be cladded with stone, but did not restrict the type and source of the stone); and an emphasis was made on adapting the building to its environs8. An additional researcher claims that the building was also required to be designed in a modern rather than a historic style. I have not found written evidence to these guidelines in the Zionist archive or anywhere else.
The proposals of Leopold Krakauer, Lotte Cohn, Richard Kauffmann, Pacovsky & Berlin, Ze'ev Berlin, Israel Dicker and Dov Kutchinsky emphasized functionality and avoidance of excessive decorations in the spirit of the Modern Movement. One of Fritz Korenberg's proposals was bold and was planned, as inspired by Constructivism, to be a dramatic circular structure. One of the two proposals submitted by Zoltan Harmat is somewhat reminiscent of the division of the blocs and the central courtyard in between, as they appear in Ratner's plan, while the other is not symmetrical and distinguishes between the KKL-JNF Wing that faces the Keren Kayemet Street and the Keren Hayesod Wing that stands out from the main façade towards King George Street. Alexander Berwald proposed a structure in an Oriental spirit, in a style he aspired to formulate as the appropriate style for the Land of Israel. He designed the Technion Building and the Reali School
8 David Kroyanker. Architecture in Jerusalem: Construction in the British Mandate Period. Jerusalem: Keter and the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 1989, pp. 286-287.

   55   56   57   58   59