Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Destruction, reconstruction, and construction

In 1928 Arab entrepreneurs financed the construction of the Palace Hotel on Jerusalem's Agron Street. The hotel was the most luxurious in the Middle East, with elevators, a central heating system, and even private bathrooms – practically unheard-of at the time.
From 1935 it was leased to civil and military units of the British Mandatory government.
Later, the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade used it.
Eventually it was closed down.
Now it is being turned into the Waldorf-Astoria Palace Jerusalem Hotel.
It was gutted and the historic and beautiful facade was preserved.
Enlarge the photo above and marvel at how they dug the construction pit under the outer shell!
I have been following its progress since 2008.
See how the shell wraps around three sides and the new construction starts in the middle?
This shot from last March shows how the old and new walls have been joined together.
The original Arabic inscriptions, intricate stone carvings, and decorative arches are being fully restored.
For the nitty-gritty on the Palace then and now, read here.
A similar project is going on for the old Saidoff Houses. See http://jerusalemhillsdailyphoto.blogspot.com/2010/10/where-history-meets-luxury.html
And for more about the ubiquitous construction in Jerusalem you can click on my label "construction."
For ABC Wednesday, T is for Theme Day.
Yes, it is our monthly City Daily Photo group's Theme Day, today about "Under construction."
Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.


Kay L. Davies said...

So interesting, Dina. Thanks!
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Julie said...

I am continually amazed by the ingenuity of our race. Such a good project to follow as a blogger, Dina. However, I suspect the final cost of the project would put the nightly room-rate well north of my pocket!!

Anonymous said...

It must feel like walking through time once finished and people will be able to enter.

Please have a good new month.

daily athens

Kay said...

I LOVE it that they are preserving some of the older parts of the building. It's sad when they wipe away/erase the past in order to bring in modern and new. There's so much history in your part of the world that needs to be saved.

Leif Hagen said...

A great re-construction posting for theme day! It kinda reminds me of Robert's re-construction photo for theme day - take a look!

Roger Owen Green said...

I wish the builders, and the city well.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Ann said...

Good that they kept the facade.

Cloudia said...

old & new = Israel!

Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral




Petrea Burchard said...

What a post! Dina, you are awesome in the true sense of the word.

Nathalie said...

Dina it's wonderful that you have been following this project since 2008. Your succession of photos are fascinating. As Julie says, human ingenuity is truly awesome.

The final result will be worth seeing. When is completion due?

Dina said...

Shalom friends. Thanks for all your nice reactions.

Nathalie, completion WAS scheduled for 2010.
In comparison, I read this about the construction in 1928-29:

"Designed by Turkish architect Nahas Bey and built by one Arab and two Jewish contractors employing some 500 workers, the four-story building was completed in the record time of eleven months (the contract stipulated a deadline of 13 months, with a 1000 pound fine for each day of delay)."

cieldequimper said...

Glad they are keeping a bit of the old too.

VP said...

This is amazing, a waldorf-Astoria in Jerusalem!

diane b said...

Great series of shots of the renovation or should I say construction. It is good that they leave the original facade. Happy birthday to your daughter too. A coincidence that both our daughters were born on the 1 Jun and both live in Sydney.

Birdman said...

Your photos show this unique work well.

Dina said...

Birdman, actually it is not so unique. I just added links to my posts about a similar project, the Saidoff Houses.

Francisca said...

I like the facade you show of the former Palace Hotel, so I'm glad it was decided to work around preserving that. The final hotel should be a beaut.

Meryl said...

Great shot of the shell!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Double Wow.

Virginia said...

Now that is amazing. Thanks for sharing all the photos so we could see the progress. When it's finished you will have to take us all inside!

Louis la Vache said...

Fascinating! In San Francisco, Bloomingdales did the same thing - they preserved the façade of the old Emporium department store and built a completely new building behind and under the old, historic façade.

Sara at Come Away With Me said...

I'm sure the original builders would appreciate that their lovely facade has been saved for everyone to enjoy into the future.

Karl said...

Very interesting Dina, great documentation!

Spiderdama said...

Old and new together can be nice.
Happy birthday to your daughter:-)

Rob and Mandy said...

Oh excellent! Love it when they do something new from old, keeping the old.

Mo said...

How many more changes I wonder.

hocam said...

It is wonderful when the old and new are blended. Great plannning.

Pietro said...

Interesting, Dina, a good information about that nice re-construction.

Suzanne said...

Agron is a continuation of Rehov Ramban after you cross King George and Keren Hayesod. I walked Agron so many days and marveled at the construction. I'm glad to see that there is progres... it's been under construction for way too long.