16 Herzl Street

The building at 16 Herzl Street used to house the first ever department store in Tel Aviv – containing the city’s first ever elevator. Today the (really very beautiful) building is run down and waiting to be bought and made into gorgeous apartments.

But the sign for the elevator is still there, as is the cast-iron elevator structure.

It’s so old that the Hebrew word used for “elevator” (ma’aliyah) is not the same word as is used today (ma’alit). With the creation of modern Israel, the Hebrew language was reconstructed and the modern language based on vocabulary from the Bible (which doesn’t mention a single elevator).

I wanted to visit this building for a while. As luck would have it, we went there on the very last day of a wonderful art installation called Desert Life/ חיי מדבר which featured works by several Israeli artists who transformed the semi-abandoned space into something beautiful.

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22 comments on “16 Herzl Street”

  1. They look like ancient archival photos that were taken at the time that the building was first erected. Love your processing. Perfect!

  2. I am sure this building will house awesome apartments, it has so much charm and appeal from the outside I can only image the inside is and will be amazing. There are only a few uses for older buildings, but it makes sense to use them for housing so the character of these old structures can be preserved. Excellent image, it looks like a tilt lens photograph with 1930’s film noise. Exceptional!

  3. Like two different images one in color the other in faded b/w, one is the present and the other the past. It is as if the hand is pointing to an entrance to the past – if one dares to enter :} I very much like the sense of story in this image…

  4. fascinating…i do hope that the elevator is retained in the new design, be a real shame to lose it. i really like the old elevator sign

  5. Fine and informative images and writeup. We learn a lot about Israel through your blog.

  6. superbe, mais j’aurais pas confiance en un tel ascenseur !!

  7. I never knew that about his place. Good to know.
    Without reading your text, and using my imagination, from some reason, at first glance it had kind of “prisony” feeling to it :). The black and white conversion also adds to the “drama”
    Great work, as usual :)

  8. Beautiful images. It’s funny I went to see this same art exhibition just a few days ago. I thought it was very interesting and loved how the artists used the space. It was also the first time I visited Herzl street 16 and I had never heard about it before! anyway, i love your photos and enjoy visiting your blog!

  9. Wow. That is a cool looking old outside style elevator. The look of the hand on the sign does make you think, do I really want to take the elevator or not. :)

  10. two superb photos, and they work well together

  11. I like the treatment and presentation here Cat – and as always, fascinating background

  12. Thanks for your comments :)

    Marcie – I’d love to find archival photos, actually…I wonder if there are any somewhere…

    Andrew – I hope that some good use is made of the building as we need more apartments…

    daina -it did feel like walking into the past, the place was rather dilapidated…but one could imagine it’s former glory.

    david – thanks, i hope so too…Tel Aviv needs to think about it’s history more and preserve it.

    Michael, thanks, that’s nice to hear! :)

    rem_la – thanks, I think I’d take the stairs :)

    Ilan – I don’t think many people know about it…it’s been left to rot and divided into a zillion tiny apartments (like the rest of the area). The courtyard could be a prison, though…I guess it’s the black bars on the elevator.

    Sarah – how cool that you went there, how did you find out about it? I found it by chance. I like going to these small but amazing exhibitions around. I’ll check out your blog too :)

    Terry, yeah, really – it reminded me of the hand on the Monopoly board… :)

    grant, thank you very much…I enjoyed playing around with them actually (which is the main thing…). It’s such an unexpected bonus that people like them.

  13. Nice ! One thing I like about your blog is your desire to experiment, superpose, cut et cross prictures. There are many ideas that I find inspiring !

    I’m wondering why you added a blur on part of the picture. Dreamy effect ? Uncertain memory ? :-)

  14. I also got there completely by chance actually! That’s what I love about Tel Aviv. come visit soon :)

  15. Magnífica composición con esos austeros colores, muy bien trabajado. Saludos.

  16. I enjoy reading what you write as well as seeing the images. In the left-side image I particularly like your angle, which gives a sense of hope, of excitement and of promise, which must have been the case when they installed that elevator. Thanks for sharing.

  17. pictalogue – merci :) actually, one thing i really like is looking at others’ pictures – there are some incredibly talented people out there. The blur – I didn’t start with a reason, I just liked it, it’s how I wanted it to look. :)

    conflagratio, thanks…

    GJC, thank you – I think I just like writing commentaries. And I’m sure there was a lot of hope and excitement, too – there still is, in the face of everything. Which is very Jewish, and very Israeli too.

  18. I enjoy reading your stories to go with the photos.

    Such a shame it will be apartments when the space would surely adapt better to being a gallery or museum space.

  19. wow…that shell of the elevator is stunning! it’s certainly a feature they need to mold the new building around. i’m sure they won’t, though.

  20. excellent processing.. love it

  21. Beautiful diptych. Either photo would have been strong on its own, and together they’re even better.

  22. Thanks for the comments – as always, I really think it’s great that you take the time to add some thoughts here….


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