M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentDaria Tsoy
SubjectThe Roots of the Architect Shmuel Rosoff, St. Petersburg -
London - Haifa
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Dr. Pliouchtch Marina
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


The work examines the life and work of the renowned Haifa architect Samuel Rosoff (1900-1975), in relation to a wide social and cultural context. The aim of the study is to research and analyze the cultural background that influenced the architectural works of Samuel Rosoff, and the three "cultural layers" that influenced him: St. Petersburg, Russia, 1900-1918; London, England, 1918-1924; and Haifa, Palestine, 1924-1948.

Samuel Rosoff was born in Saratov, Russia in 1900. Samuel Rosoff's childhood and adulthood took place in St. Petersburg. Samuel's father, Israel Rosoff, was a prominent leader of the Zionist movement, and the Rosoff house was a meeting place for the Zionist center. Samuel Rosoff received the finest nurturing and education according to the European culture. He studied in St. Petersburg’s prestigious Tenisheff school, which was one of the best schools of natural science in Russia. In St. Petersburg Rosoff was exposed to various components of architectural styles - Neo-Baroque, Neo-Classicism and architecture of Art Nouveau.

In 1918 the immigration to London brought no change to the family's wealthy life style, which remained similar to that in St. Petersburg. Rosoff received qualitative civil engineering education in one of the finest institutions of London, the City & Guilds Engineering College at London. Among the important elements of the architectural influence Rosoff absorbed in London were the heritage of the "Arts and Crafts" movement.

Samuel Rosoff made his way to Palestine in 1924. During Rosoff's work at the Electric Corporation (1924-1932), he had the chance to study from the masters of architecture - architects like Mendelsohn and Kauffmann. The buildings Rosoff built during his independent career due to his personal relationships with Rutenberg, the head the Electric Corporation, stand out in their high architectural quality. The contacts Rosoff established prior to his independent career contributed to his success.

Rosoff participated in some of the most important enterprises in Haifa's development, along with other renowned architects from all around Europe. In the study, we examined the independent activity of Samuel Rosoff during the years 1933-1948. More than one hundred projects were collected, documented, and analyzed. During the early 1930s, Rosoff built a number of projects related with the pure modernism. However, during that time one can notice an eclectic approach developing in his architecture. Towards the 1940s, the eclectic approach took over Rosoff's pure modernism design and defined most of his architectural works.