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Me'onot Ovdim (workers' housing cooperative)


The workers' housing cooperatives throughout Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa were constructed for workers' collectives in keeping with the cooperative perceptions of the Labor movements. "Since 'Ahuzat Bayit' was planned as a garden suburb, construction laws dictated narrow lots (15-18 m. in width) and a building line requiring a gap between buildings all around. Unlike the common urban perception throughout the world, of buildings attached to one another in a 'block' structure, this principle caused a serious limitation of jammed separate houses, with the 4-6 m. gap in between buildings creating a dense window vista…" (Ran Shchori, p. 20 [Hebrew]).

Design of a single building on a lot was, thus, a practical necessity. Only in the case of Me'onot Ovdim, where several plots were combined, or in the subsequent case of new neighborhoods, did architects also plan the lay-out of the residential buildings in the area. Designed by Arieh Sharon, Me'onot Ovdim D (Dalet), H (He) and E (Vav), erected in 1933 between Frishman-Frug-Dov-Hoz Streets, are considered a landmark in the development of residential types in the country.

Joined plots allowed construction of long blocks designed with geometrical simplicity. The elongated facades are typified by regulated composition: the protruding windows and balconies are sequentially repeated, interrupted in fixed intervals by vertical boxes projecting out from the facade plane, enveloping the stairways. The uniform elements and the equal gaps between them generate visual cleanness and rhythm.