7 Engel St.

The building appears in the preservation plan as a ‘Building for preservation with limited restrictions’. White City Buildings performed extensive preservation work on the building, adding an extension to the building. The original three levels of the building were supported by temporary underground foundations, for the purpose of digging an underground parking lot. When the parking lot was completed, the original levels were reconstructed and three more levels were added.
The construction was completed in 2009 and the building is currently fully occupied.

Preservation Architect

Bar Orian Architects

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The story of the building

The lot, which is 597 square meters, was purchased by Meir Arison in February 1935 at the price of 1100 Israeli Lirot. The building plans were submitted for approval in May of the same year. The building license was received less than a month afterwards and six months later on 9/12/35 the construction was completed.
The first owner, Meir Arison, was a leading figure in the settlement’s economy. He was born in Zichron Yaakov in 1894 to Moshe and Sarah, founders and farmers of the Moshava/Colony. Moshe studied in the colony and afterwards traveled to Istanbul to study in a trading school. In 1914 he was recruited to the Turkish army where he served as an officer. His position enabled him to assist Meir Dizengof in helping deportees from Tel-Aviv and Jaffa and to alleviate the siege on his hometown colony once the ‘Nili’ resistance movement was discovered. The assistance to Meir Dizengof paid off after the war ended. The mayor offered him to manage the import/export brokerage office and in time he also became a partner in the firm. Thanks to his talent and impressive knowledge of languages, he contributed considerably to the private businesses, and overall to the Hebrew economy and even received merit badges from Romania, France and Belgium for developing foreign relations.
Following his death in 1946, the property on Engel St. was inherited by his heirs. In 1949 the building was connected to the city sewer system, until that point absorbing pits were used. In the 50’s three veteran soldiers opened an automatic laundromat service in the basement of the building in addition to a workshop that manufactured Kippahs.
In terms of its historical value, the building reflects the ‘Great Immigration Wave’ of the 30’s that required building 3-4 story buildings that replaced the small buildings. The building, like many in the area, was built in the international style that was common in Tel-Aviv in those years – a style that expressed social and cultural perceptions that focused on functionality and addressing the needs of a city in development and in a growth momentum. The building has hardly been changed over the years until its preservation by White City Buildings and has kept its unique tone: It was built in a U shape, in its interior a green courtyard for the exclusive use of the building’s tenants. Its façade is divided into two blocks, with only the ground floor having a different appearance and breaking the symmetry. Nonetheless the façade is pleasantly proportionate. The public interior spaces, such as the entrances and the mutual stairwells, most like designed by Kabiri, were meticulously planned with great attention to detail: starting with the unique rail, through the entrance door and up to the lights – all this aimed to maintain an overall harmony characterizing the building. Sliding windows were used in the building, which wasn’t common in the 30’s. They were built with modern methods that included the use of reinforced concrete, siliceous bricks, columns and washed plaster sand, methods that were typical of the international style.

The Architect

The building was designed by the architect Abraham Kabiri. Kabiri was born in the Ukraine in 1903 and immigrated to Israel in 1922. In the evenings he studied structural engineering at the Montifiori Technical Institute and during the day he worked in construction to make ends meet. In 1925 he was part of the construction of the power plant in Nahariya, and a year later he traveled to France to study civil engineering at Cannes University.
Among the buildings he established: 7 Engel St, 13 Idelson St, 11 Shmaryahu Levin St, 11, 38, 70 Shlomo Hamelech St and 50 Bar-Kochba St.