Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentLiliane Richter
SubjectDifferent Patterns of the Adaptation as Architects, of Two
Jewish European Immigrants: Alexander Baerwald and
Benjamin Chaikin in Eretz Israel
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Herbert Gilbert (Deceased)


The purpose of this thesis has been to examine the different ways two European Jewish architects adapted to their new cultural environment when they settled in Palestine in the 1920s, and the way the process of adaptation was reflected in their architectural work in the country. Alexander Baerwald (1877-1930) came from Germany and Benjamin Chaikin (1883-1950) came from England. Both architects made important contributions to the architecture of the country. They came from two different cultural worlds, they differed in the way they referred to their Jewish heritage and in their relation to the Zionist movement. They however shared a conservative architectural attitude, each from his particular cultural background. The study deals with culture and cultural processes and the relation between culture and architecture. The process of the personal adaptation of each architect has been traced throughout the various stages in their lives. The study of the polar dynamics in a model of three axes of architectural attitude has been helpful to identify possible changes in architectural outlook of each architect in the course of those stages. Baerwald’s work seemed to reflect his growing understanding of the needs and life-style of the people he had come to share his life with. It showed a gradual, though reluctant rapprochement to modern architecture that had come to prevail in the country. Chaikin’s traditional regionalist approach to the country’s architecture seemed to reflect his personal traditional relationship to the country and the growing impact of the modern movement seemed to have left Chaikin largely unconcerned