Israel Electric Corporation buildings in Israel

In collaboration with Architects Einav Schory & Shira Ben Ezra

Historical Background of the IEC

The construction of the Electric Company complex on Kremnitzky Street was carried out by the Civil Planning Department and the Executive Division of the Israel Electric Company (IEC). The IEC was founded as the Palestine Electric Company on March 29th, 1923 by the Jewish engineer and revolutionary Pinchas Rotenberg (1879-1942). The IEC started with two concessions that Pinchas Rotenberg received from the British Mandate government in 1921, after conducting a survey on the

possibilities of exploiting the country's water sources and formulating a proposal for the construction of 31 hydroelectric power stations based on this survey. The first concession referred to the Jaffa sub-district and on its basis the "Jaffa Electric Company" was founded. Rotenberg undertook to build a hydroelectric power station on the Yarkon, but eventually built a calorie station between Jaffa and Tel Aviv. In 1923, the first power station was opened, supplying electricity to the cities of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. In 1925, the IEC built two more diesel-powered power plants – one in Haifa and the other in Tiberias.

The story of the 'Palestine Electric Company' is interwoven with the story of the Hebrew settlement in modern times and with the vision of the establishment of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel in Hebrew work. However, the concession from the Mandate government that Rotenberg won as a private company obligated the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants and the creation of an "electrified" space for Jews and Arabs alike. In 1932, following the construction of the power stations in Jaffa, Haifa and Tiberias, the "Nahariya" hydroelectric power station was also inaugurated, which was built east of the Jordan River and became the first new power station in the Middle East. During the War of Independence, the Nahariya power plant came under the control of the Kingdom of Jordan and ceased its operations. Its place in the IEC's production line was taken by the new production units set up at the sites of the power stations in Tel Aviv - on the site of the Redding power station which was called Redding B and has two units: The first unit in Redding B started operating in May 1935, with this second one in March 1945. The introduction of the new units led to an easing of the electricity crisis which enabled the company to plan long-term and build new power sites.

With the end of the War of Independence and the opening of the country's gates to large waves of immigration, the IEC faced major development challenges, but investors' money stopped coming and the company lacked the sums of money required for it. It is worth noting that despite the financing difficulties in the years 1945-1949, the IEC continued to develop and expand existing power plants to meet the growing needs of the economy. During this period, two units were established in Haifa, one at the end of 1949 and the other in 1951.

In 1954, the Israeli government decided to purchase 59% of the company's shares and turn it into a government company. On that year, the Israeli government also purchased the electricity franchise from the Jerusalem Electric and Public Service Company (a company that was also subject to budgetary difficulties) and made it to its daughter company as the Electricity Company of the Land of Israel. The process of modernization that the State of Israel underwent did not stop, and in the early 1960s, two new power plants with identical data were established with reparations money from Germany: Haifa B. and Ashdod B. With the growth of the IEC, space was required for the company’s technical operations center. The implementation of this center was the responsibility of the Civil Planning Department and the Execution Division of the IEC, which guided the planning and execution of the project. Along the way, the department was renamed to the "Engineering Projects Division." Today, the division is responsible for the management, planning and construction of all the power stations and substations established in the State of Israel. The division's engineering performance and managerial capabilities enable it to integrate and carry out projects in the production and hatred system abroad and in Israel. The division has about 2,000 employees and includes the Engineering Planning Division, the Project Execution Division and the Project Management Headquarters.


The Contribution of Pinchas Rotenberg to the Electricity Plan and the Development of Modern Architecture in the Land of Israel

The contribution of Pinchas Rotenberg (1879-1942), who was called "the old man from Nahariya", is reflected not only in the establishment of the electricity plant in the Land of Israel, but also in the development of modern architecture in Israel and the visual imprint it left on the landscape. The power plants he established are an impressive and astonishing architectural enterprise. The connection between technology and aesthetics has yielded structures whose architecture arouses much public interest to this day. "Like cathedrals that dominated the urban

landscape in medieval Europe, so do power stations that dominate their surroundings – towering over the coastal plain or visible from Haifa Bay and the open sea," wrote researchers in the history of architecture Prof. Gilbert Herbert, Dr. Ita Heinza-Greenberg and architect Sylvain Sosnowski in their book "Striving for Excellence in Architecture: Buildings and Projects of the Electricity Plant in the Land of Israel 1942-1921". The steps of the IEC in Eretz Israel can be divided into two stages:

· The first stage – in the construction of the first power stations in the 1920s and 1930s.

· The second phase – the second generation of power stations (Haifa A and Redding Tel Aviv.

To fulfill the task of building the power plants and auxiliary structures of the IEC, Rotenberg recruited an impressive line of architects, including Alexander Brawald, Joseph Berlin, Samuel Rozov, Benjamin Ural, Edward Rosenhack, Clifford Holiday, Pierce Howard and Richard Kaufman, and Erich Mendelssohn, who was perhaps one of the greatest architects in the country in the 1930s and was highly valued by Rothenberg. Mendelssohn's imprint is evident in almost all of the buildings that Rothenberg erected, although he did not actually design any of them in their entirety.

For decades, the architecture of power plants has aroused great interest in the world. Rothenberg's stations do not fall short in architectural quality from much larger stations established in those years in the United States and Europe, and sometimes even surpass them in their bold modern design. Rotenberg recognized the importance of architecture and used its power to create images. Since the basic design of the power plants was largely due to technical considerations, such as the location of the boilers and turbines, Rotenberg's task was to determine the character of the building as perceived from the outside, and to give it an authoritative and impressive form. However, despite Rotenberg's appreciation for architects, he sometimes acted in bad faith, such as ordering plans from them and rejecting them, employing several of them at the same time, created an atmosphere of uncertainty and sometimes stopped contacting them without prior notice. The final design of the power plants was eventually done in the IEC's technical office, headed by engineer Samuel David Sorsky, a skilled professional who was a right-hand man and did Rotenberg's work. Rotenberg himself intervened not only in the technical level of the design process, but also in aesthetic issues.

At the time, the foundations for the intoxication of power of the electricity company were undoubtedly laid by Rotenberg himself. The development of the IEC for the Land of Israel in general and its construction plans in particular were defined, determined and controlled by only one person – Rotenberg. He is described as a man who makes low and threatening noises and filters his words through clenched teeth. However, he was a man of vision, action and unprecedented initiative in the area. He was a messenger of progress and devoted the best of his energy and energies to his people and homeland.


The First Power Station in the City of Tel Aviv-Jaffa

The first power station built by Pinchas Rotenberg was in the city of Tel Aviv as part of the process of electrifying the city. The station was built in 1923 in the Ramat Hasharon neighborhood (today at 16 Hahashmal Street, a street named after the station. Also, near the site, a garden called Hahashmal was established, also named after the station).

Prior to the establishment of the station, the IEC actually began two concessions that Pinchas Rotenberg received from the Mandate government in 1921. The first concession referred to the Jaffa sub-district and on its basis the Jaffa Electric Company was founded in 1922. Rotenberg undertook to build a hydroelectric power station on the Yarkon Davar built a diesel-powered station - which was, as mentioned, the first power station in the city. The power station was designed by the architect Joseph Berlin and was considered one of the first projects he planned after immigrating to Israel in 1921, and one of the most important of them. In June 1923, Allenby and Nahalat Binyamin streets in Tel Aviv were illuminated for the first time, and in November 1923, King George Boulevard (now Jerusalem Blvd.) was illuminated in Jaffa. In the same year, Rotenberg founded the "Electric Company for Palestine", which incorporated the "Jaffa Electric Company". In the years 1925-1923, the electricity grid expanded rapidly, partly due to the construction of a high-voltage line to the British army headquarters in Sarpand (now Zrifin), which allowed the IEC to supply electricity to Rishon Lezion, Ness Ziona and Rehovot and later to Ramla.


Construction of the Naharayim Power Station

During the years 1926-1921, there were far-reaching changes in the political map of the Middle East: Israel's borders shrank significantly due to the division of territory between the French Mandate and the British Mandate. South Lebanon and the Golan Heights were annexed by the French Mandate to Syria, and in Transjordan, the British established the Hashemite Kingdom, led by Emir Abdullah.

These changes also led to a cut in Pinchas Rotenberg's plans, but Rotenberg did not stop his efforts to obtain the final concession in order to gain control over the water sources and especially the sources of the Jordan and its tributaries, with the help of which he can generate electricity and assist in settlement and development of the land. On May 19, 1926, the great concession that allows the use of the waters of the Jordan River and the Yarmouk to supply electricity throughout the Land of Israel and across the Jordan for 70 years was finally received and approved. The large concession that allows the use of the waters of the Jordan River and the Yarmouk to supply electricity throughout the Land of Israel and across the Jordan for 70 years has been finally received and approved.

In 1923, Rotenberg turned to the German Jewish architect Erich Mendelssohn and asked him to design the hydroelectric power station on the Jordan River and the power station in Haifa. In August 1927, the first workers ascended the land in Naharayim. The work is progressing at a rapid pace. Through the railway track that passes near the site, the heavy vehicles arrive at the site and in Naharayim, a train station is also set up to transport the workers, and extensions of the track are built to transport materials and equipment to the construction site.

With the help of a sophisticated system of dams and canals, Rothenberg planned to pool the amounts of water of the two rivers and use them to operate the station. However, on February 31, 1931, a great flood struck Naharayim and the forces of nature showed themselves to the station's founders shortly before the station was about to go into operation. As a result, the Yarmouk overflowed, the southern wall of the upper water canal was destroyed and the branding site between the canal and the Jordan River was also destroyed. Following the flood damage, Rothenberg traveled to Europe to raise the necessary funds and within less than a year construction of the station was completed, including repairing the damage caused.

In the winter of 1932, the first attempts were made to generate electricity in Naharayim, and after months of running and inspecting the various systems, the station was officially inaugurated on June 9, 1932, becoming the first new hydroelectric power station in the Middle East. Enter the delivery and distribution system together. Thanks to the station in Naharayim, the national network was established for the first time, which connected all the power stations in one circuit, so that they could feed the delivery and distribution system together. In addition to being a powerhouse, Naharayim served as the Rotenberg flagship from the social aspect. He took care of building residential neighborhoods for the workers, setting up its consumers, providing paid sick days, days off and work clothes. These conditions given in Naharayim later became the property of all the company's employees.

Naharayim became a flowering garden in the desert and was a household name among the Jewish community in Israel in the 1930s and 1940s. Rotenberg built the "White House" on the site, which served as its residence and hosted celebrities who used to visit the place. However, despite the fact that Naharayim was a success in every possible field, it had no continuation. The flood of events that took place in Israel and around the world motivated Rothenberg to once again change his plans regarding the electricity of Israel. During the War of Independence, the Naharayim power plant came under the control of the Kingdom of Jordan and its operation ceased. Its place in the IEC's production line was taken by the new production units set up at the sites of the power stations in Tel Aviv.

Naharayim was in fact the fulfillment of Pinchas Rotenberg's dream. With its help, he proved that it is possible to generate electricity from water in Israel on a commercial scale, and to an extent that was unknown until then. The three units installed at the station could generate about 18 MW. Rothenberg laid the foundations for another fourth unit but this option was not exercised.


The First Power Station in the City of Tel Aviv-Jaffa

The first power station built by Pinchas Rotenberg was in the city of Tel Aviv as part of the process of electrifying the city. The station was built in 1923 in the Ramat Hasharon neighborhood (today at 16 Hahashmal Street, a street named after the station. Also, near the site, a garden called Hahashmal was established, also named after the station).

Prior to the establishment of the station, the IEC actually began two concessions that Pinchas

Rotenberg received from the Mandate government in 1921. The first concession referred to the Jaffa sub-district and on its basis the Jaffa Electric Company was founded in 1922. Rotenberg undertook to build a hydroelectric power station on the Yarkon, but eventually built a diesel-powered station - which was, as mentioned, the first power station in the city. The power station was designed by the architect Joseph Berlin and was considered one of the first projects he planned after immigrating to Israel in 1921, and one of the most important of them. In June 1923, Allenby and Nahalat Binyamin streets in Tel Aviv were illuminated for the first time, and in November 1923, King George Boulevard (now Jerusalem Boulavard.) was illuminated in Jaffa. In the same year, Rotenberg founded the "Electric Company for Palestine", which incorporated the "Jaffa Electric Company". In the years 1923-1925, the electricity grid expanded rapidly, partly due to the construction of a high-voltage line to the British army headquarters in Sarpand (now Zrifin), which allowed the IEC to supply electricity to Rishon Lezion, Ness Ziona and Rehovot and later to Ramla.

The station compound was part of a compound formerly called the "Model Farm," which had been an agricultural farm since 1859 as a "model farm" for Jewish converts. The farm in its original form survived for a few years, but the farm building (the "Model Farm" building), which became a police station during the First World War, is today the board building. The power plant of the first Hebrew city was built next to the "Model Farm" building. The station building is the third building built in the complex (after the construction of the water well and the board building) and is considered to be of historical importance on a national scale. The station, with a capacity of 300 kilowatts, began to supply electricity on June 23, 1923 and operated until 1957.

The historic sites in the first power plant complex express an important chapter in the history of the first Hebrew city – Tel Aviv.

In addition, the site as a whole symbolizes the beginning of the creation of electrical energy in the country by combining natural water systems that exist on the site, which is probably due to which the location of the site was chosen in the first place. Another characteristic that is unique to this complex is the topographic structure - since the complex is located at the top of a hill that slopes in four directions, but mainly to the east. Its eastern front was the most important. Also, when looking at the compound from west to east, the compound is the skyline. This is due to a lower ground level on the eastern side of Menachem Begin Road. Therefore, the "hilly configuration of the complex is one of its most salient features and a major component in the spirit of the place."

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