Here is what the advertisement said: “Hator Passage, now under construction in Tel Aviv, will hold shops, offices, banks, clubs, hotels and so on and is being built by the latest methods like the shopping arcades in Europe. Potential tenants may want large areas with special entrances on each floor.” The ad gave a phone number to call. It was published on February 8, 1935, in the now defunct newspaper Davar. That was a sign of the city’s prosperity in the 1930s.
Tens of thousands of immigrants, mostly from Europe, were streaming into the city in the fourth and fifth major waves of immigration. They came with cash and established a petit bourgeois class of practitioners of the free professions. In 1936, Tel Aviv was already the largest city in the country, the trade and marketing center for the prestate Jewish community’s agricultural produce, its center of industry and the trades and its center in terms of public, financial and cultural institutions. At the Yarkon estuary a small port was dedicated, and on the main streets modern cafes, clubs and cinemas opened.
Herzl Street quickly took on a distinctly commercial look. One entrepreneur purchased a block at the corner of Wolfson and Herzl and began putting up a large office and commercial building there. The name "Hator" is an abbreviation of his name...Hator Passage had a modern, big city feel. It was the work of Haim (Munya ) Remah (Sokolinsky ), who owned a flourishing architecture firm in the 1930s, says his daughter, educator and author Herzliya Raz.
Originally the idea of the arcade was to enlarge the commercial area on the ground floor. Instead of a few shops facing the street, Sokolinsky planned a spacious inner courtyard connecting Herzl Street to Hashuk (Market ) Street and containing another layer of commerce...
...Architecturally, the Hator Arcade connects to local and international design trends. A few years earlier, Sokolinsky had completed his studies in France and was acquainted with Le Corbusier's avant-garde works and the fundamentals of the Modernist movement. On the outside, the building resembles the splendid department stores the German-Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn did for the Schocken family in Germany, with a rounded facade harmoniously relating to the street corner and ribbons of windows cutting the building its entire length.
The inner courtyard, suddenly different, more conservative facades are revealed, including typical elements of the International style like "thermometer" windows alongside the staircases and balconies with concrete aprons as protection from the sun.
The building's most innovative element is not visible. Pictures from the construction period show that Sokolinsky moved the supporting columns back from the facade with the aim of creating a free facade - one of the most important principles of Modernist architecture...
...The idea of a passage is simple - enlargement of the commercial floor along with the creation of an urban micro-climate. "Ostensibly, it could have been expected that the passages would be a big success in this country because of their ability to create a covered street and to give pedestrians a break from the sun and the heat," says architect Zvi Elhayani, founder of the Israel Architecture Archive. "The problem is that the passages here were built in advance as buildings that contain a passageway, and they didn't evolve that way organically. In many cases the passageway they created was not useful and, truth to tell, the urban traffic here has never been intensive enough to attract people inside. Ultimately, what won out was the shop facing the street..."
...The next evolutionary phase after the passages came in the 1980s, in the form of American-style shopping malls and air-conditioned shopping centers, which rendered the old passages...superfluous...
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