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Ratner worked diligently on a proposal for a large, rounded, two-story building. As required, he submitted an engineering plan for the building and attached a model (maquette) made of plasticine. His proposal was sent in April 1928 and the result came in July of that year. Ratner was a realist. He assumed that among the many participants of the competition there were quite a few of the architectural "lions" of the Land of Israel. One of them was Alexander Baerwald, the man who planned the monumental building of the Technion in Haifa, and who was its Head of the Faculty of Architecture during the competition for the National Institutions Building.
Only when the results were known did Ratner understand who he was up against. Among his competitors were Richard Kauffmann, Alexander Baerwald, Joseph Berlin, Jacob Pinkerfield and Joseph Minor. As a professional in the field, he was familiar with much of their work. He knew for example that Berlin planned the construction of the Electric Corporation's first power plant in Tel Aviv and that Minor planned Bialik House, which immediately became a Tel-Avivian icon. And he? Two planning projects stood to his credit in Haifa: The First Workers' House and the Amphitheatre. However, the panel judges, headed by the renowned foreign architect Prof. Yosef Frank, and whose other members included architect Benjamin Chaikin, Dr. Eliezer Riger from the Educational Department of the National Commission and the representatives of KKL-JNF and Keren Hayesod whose names were unknown, preferred his plan over the other plans and awarded him the first place prize in the amount of 75 Palestine Pound – a very large sum, equivalent to NIS 75 thousand today. The second through fifth prizes were awarded to architects Leopold Krakauer (70 Palestine Pound), Dov Kuczynski (65 Palestine Pound), Richard Kauffmann (60 Palestine Pound) and Wilhelm Hecker (34 Palestine Pound).
Eventually, Ratner stated that the Head of KKL-JNF, Menachem Ussishkin, who was intimately familiar with the work, disclosed to him that during its lengthy deliberations, pressure was applied to award the first-place prize to "one of our people", in other words, from those leading architects in the field. Prof. Frank applied his full weight to get Ratner's proposal approved. With a mischievous smile, Ratner added: "perhaps the plasticine model I attached to the plan helped somewhat..."
To Ratner's surprise, his boss at the Technion, Prof. Baerwald, accepted the loss to his deputy with equanimity, as if nothing happened, and no tension arose between them. Two years later, in 1930, when he was only 53, Baerwald passed away suddenly and Ratner succeeded him as Head of the Faculty of Architecture.
Over the following years, he came to represent much more than others the combination of the "Safra" (the book, in its architectural meaning) with the "Saifa" (the sword, in its sole meaning, military meaning). In the Technion, he was a beloved teacher who influenced an entire generation of architects. Occasionally he would take upon himself the planning of a whole structure or compound. At the same time, he became one of the leaders in the "Haganah" organization. Already in 1929, he had been recruited by the Settlement Department of the Jewish Agency to propose security solutions to the new settlements it established.

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