Chanan Frenkel was born Hans-Hermann Frenkel on 22 July 1905 in Halle an der Saale. After failing to complete a business apprenticeship in Leipzig and a similarly interrupted training period with an antiquarian bookshop in Berlin, Frenkel, then aged 20, went intohachshara (‘preparation’) for three years. He became increasingly enthusiastic about Zionism and started to prepare for emigration to Palestine. In 1926, he co-founded a kibbutz called ‘Cheruth’ in Hameln – Germany’s first kibbutz. Emigration followed in 1928.
In 1930, Chanan Frenkel returned to Germany to study at the Bauhaus in the architecture and interior design workshop headed by Ludwig Hilberseimer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He completed his studies on 15 August 1932, receiving Bauhaus Diploma no. 91. For his diploma dissertation, he submitted a design for ‘Grünau Swimming Beach near Berlin’, a mass swimming-pool capable of accommodating approximately 12,300 people on the Langer See south-east of Berlin. The Bauhaus graduate returned to Palestine in the spring of 1933 and began to contribute actively as an architect to the country’s development.
Starting in the mid-1930s, Frenkel contributed to preparations for the World Exhibitions in Paris (1937) and New York (1939), mainly as a model-maker. His first private commission followed in 1938 (the Eulau building in Gedera, Israel). In 1945, he took part in an exhibition entitled ‘Contributions to Planning in Palestine: Kahane – Frenkel – Trostler – Witt’ at the Bezalei Jewish National Museum in Jerusalem. Three years later, he won first prize in a competition for the bus station and market hall in Netanya – projects that were never implemented. From the 1950s onward, he specialized professionally as an architect mainly in the field of hospital building. His best-known project is the blood bank building in Jaffa. [AG 2015]
· Ausstellung: Vom Bauhaus nach Palästina: Chanan Frenkel – Ricarda und Heinz Schwerin, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Meisterhaus Muche/Schlemmer, 26. Juni bis 13. Oktober 2013.
· Udi Katzmann (2011): Mit dem Bauhaus leben, in: Bauhaus. Die Zeitschrift der Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Heft 2.
· Myra Wahrhaftig (1996): Sie legten den Grundstein, Tübingen/Berlin.
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