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Eshkol Tower - the "Iron Tower" of the University of Haifa

The University of Haifa is located on Mount Talalim, one of the peaks of Mount Carmel, from where it overlooks the sea in the southwest and the Haifa Bay and the Zebulun Valley in the northeast.

A brief history of the university

The beginning of the university was the initiative of the mayor Khushi's father To establish a modest research institute in 1963 under the auspices of the Hebrew University. 
In October 1965, the cornerstone scroll was written for the campus in its current location on Carmel.
After 9 years, in 1972 the University of Haifa was declared an independent university and it was the fourth to be established in Israel.
Today, about 18000 students study in it on various campuses, throughout Haifa, affiliated to the university.

The campus is on Mount Carmel

The beginning of the construction of the campus was in 1966, about a year after the laying of the cornerstone, with the construction of the multi-purpose building according to the plans of Haifa architect Shlomo Gilad. In the years 1974-1978, the Eshkol Tower, the "Ivory Tower" of the university, was built.

Migdal Eshkol

At the end of the 60s of the last century, the renowned Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer stayed in Israel for a short time. He proposed a conceptual plan for several buildings of the campus and the most important of them - a skyscraper that will rise above a large horizontal base structure. Due to various reasons, Niemeyer did not continue with the detailed design of the tower.

The continuation of the planning was handed over to the architect Prof. Shlomo Gilad. Gilad partially preserved the plans for the main building and the tower above it, which was later called the "Eshkol Tower" after Prime Minister Levi Eshkol. The tower has 30 floors and it rises to a height of 102 m with its top reaching a height of about 600 m above sea level. The tower houses the university offices, including the rooms of the teaching staff.

Because of its very narrow shape (only 13 m!) and its great height, the strong winds that occur in this place in the winter can cause fluctuations at its upper end of up to 40 cm on each side. On such days, access to the upper floors is closed.

Eshkol Tower, Haifa University (illustration Dr. David Bar On).

Architect Oscar Niemeyer

The Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012) is one of the most influential in the modernist movement in architecture and the successor of one of the fathers of modern architecture, Le Corbusier. He is one of the pioneer architects who used bare concrete (beton brut) as the main building material. During his short stay in Israel in the 60s, he was involved in a number of projects that were not realized at all or were only partially realized, such as the University Tower in Haifa and the State Square in Tel Aviv. His most important contribution was in the design of many of the buildings of the city of Brasilia, the new capital city of Brazil.

Architect Shlomo Gilad

Shlomo Gilad (1922-2005), born in Poland, immigrated to Israel with his family in 1933 and lived in Haifa. Studied architecture at the Technion (1944). Starting in 1955, he ran an independent planning office but also taught at the Technion Faculty of Architecture (senior lecturer). 

His office was involved in many projects in the Haifa area and within the kibbutz movement, throughout the country, from Margaliot in the north to Sde Boker in the south.

Besides the "Eshkol Tower" (in partnership with architect A. Niemeyer), his projects in Haifa include: the Municipal Theater and the Pevzner Library, the Staircase Building at the University of Haifa, the Technion Student House and the Biram House at the Reali School.

Additional campuses

Over the years, additional buildings were erected on the main campus on Carmel, and other campuses throughout the city were also added, such as:

  • The Port Campus in the lower city, in the historical building of the income tax (2009)
  • The Institute for the Study of the Lake Seas (2015) 
  • City campus By Larry Loki (2019)

In 2015, an agreement was signed with the largest university in the Shanghai region of China on the establishment of a joint Chinese-Israeli university center. It was the first initiative of its kind by an Israeli institution and a Chinese institution. Indeed, the institute began operating in 2016, to promote knowledge in both institutions.

The "ivory tower" of the university

The Eshkol Tower was the tallest building in Haifa until the construction of the "Sail Tower" in Kiryat HaShemler (2002). The construction of the tower on the Carmel ridge has sparked outrage, both from professional circles and from the Nature Reserves Authority. However, despite the criticism of its construction, the tower quickly became the hallmark of Haifa University (remember? There have already been such cases in history: for example, the Eiffel Tower in Paris...)

Dear readers,

The articles in this section are based on open information published in sources such as Wikipedia and other websites and may include various historical inaccuracies arising from the aforementioned sources.

Contact Chai here: At watsapBy email

Dr. David Bar On
Dr. David Bar On
Dr. David Bar On • Architect and urban planner

Articles related to this topic

12 תגובות

  1. Regarding the architect Oscar Niemeyer and the University of Haifa, I wrote a long response which unfortunately got lost before it was sent. Niemeyer was invited to many projects, which unfortunately were not carried out, including to the best of my memory a private house for the Pederman family owned by Dan Carmel. While planning the university, Niemeyer was looking for a local architect to help prepare plans for submitting plans for a building permit from the municipality. This is how he met the late architect Haim Tivon, who liked him and when the bureaucratic work was finished, added him to the team he brought with him from Brazil (a construction engineer and a model builder). Tivon worked in the team both on the university's plans and on the design of the State Square in Tel Aviv. At the time, Niemeyer was a political refugee from the dictatorial regime in Brazil. With the regime change, he wanted to return home and left
    the continuation of the work and supervision of the execution to others. At the request of the city engineer, continue the work on
    The university was handed over to architect Gilad. Before his departure, Niemeyer left a notarial power of attorney for Haim Tivon for supreme supervision of the construction. The original plan of the university included a composition of two main blocks, one horizontal and the other, vertical, rising above it. above the block
    More smaller elements were designed horizontally, a kind of stamp for Niemeyer's style. The built model
    In accordance with this plan, it was presented in one of the university halls (perhaps it is still displayed) and allowed to the audience
    To see a perfect work, a kind of abstract, harmonious sculpture. In fact, led by the city engineer
    What was built was completely different. The construction of a tall building in Carmel, without the intervention of the green bodies, would perhaps not have gone through without Niemeyer's signature, but if it was already possible, then the contractors and engineer
    The city took advantage of the situation and built even higher and completely changed the horizontal element as well. Tivon reported this to Niemeyer, who gave an order to cancel his signature on the project.

    • Thank you for your comment with the important information. Indeed, the planner's intentions are not always faithfully translated into practice. Full disclosure: the late architect Haim Tivon was my first supervisor in my master's degree...

  2. It is worth knowing that Nayer proposed a modest tower of about 10 to 12 floors.
    But the builders of the tower got smart, and proposed to raise the tower to 32 stories by using light materials, and indeed many assemblies in the tower are made of aluminum and other light materials.
    This tower is the height of ugliness on the beautiful Carmel ridge...
    What's more, each floor has several small and inefficient rooms, and it also has 5 elevators.
    It's a shame they didn't stick to the original plan of the world genius Niemeyer.

    • The writer is of course right that the height of the tower is different... Niemeyer also did not propose to build the library in the form of an inverted pyramid. He wanted the shape of a sphinx and only the planners here, friends of the writer Naftali, changed the sphinx to a pyramid.

    • thank you for your response. The information provided by you is not familiar to me, but it is interesting, no doubt. good week!

  3. On one side the tower breaks the Carmel ridge, and you can see it from Hermon! On the other hand, if it were built laterally, it would take away a lot of green areas.

    • You can also see it from the mountains above Beirut
      The same goes for the 2 Panorama towers and the medical school in Bat Galim

  4. The person who created the connection with Shanghai is Ron Robi Henshin, who established in Shanghai a branch of an American university where he worked when he left the University of Haifa and before he returned.
    The tower was named after Levi Eshkol, his daughter's son-in-law was its president, Eshkol's daughter and her husband taught in the same class. Today it is forbidden and it is considered corruption. In the days of Mapai everything looked like this. A tower from which they also committed suicide and then made sure to prevent it in the building.

    • thank you for your response. Ignoring the reasons that led to naming the tower (according to you) it was appropriate to name the tower after Levi Eshkol (in my opinion). good week!

  5. The building is just like the entire university: alienated, ugly, arrogant, cut off from all context and creating an unpleasant environment around it full of strong and evil spirits.

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