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The Levin House, in Hebrew "Beit Levin" (later called Russian Embassy House), is a historic building located at 46 Rothschild Boulevard on the corner of Shadal Street in Tel Aviv, Israel, and is one of the city’s most well-known buildings.
The building’s architecture is characterized as eclectic, which is unique in central Tel Aviv. The building was designed in 1924 for the wealthy Levin family by architect Yehuda Magidovitch and imbibes many romantic style symbols and decorations with a tower at the front.
One of the more striking elements of the building is its pointy-roofed tower. During the building's rehabilitation, the crew discovered that the three parts of the tower could be opened by using a special mechanism, and create an opening over the staircase. The mechanism enabled furniture to be moved into the building. It may also have been used by the religiously observant Levin family to create a succah during the Feast of the Tabernacles.
The house was originally built for the Levin family. It later had several owners throughout the years and after the establishment of the State of Israel, housed the USSR Embassy, being thus known in these years as Russian Embassy House. On the evening of February 9, 1953, the house was damaged by a bomb placed by three former Lehi activists. The event was used as an excuse for stopping diplomatic relations of the Soviet Union with Israel, by saying that the operation was backed by the Israeli government. Diplomatic relations renewed only after Stalin’s death in July 1953. (They stopped again in 1967 after the Six-Day War and resumed by December 1991, as a result of Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika reform.)
Since the 1990s
After years of neglect, the building went through rehabilitation by architects Amnon Bar Or and Moti Bodek, along with engineer Shmaya Ben Avraham. The conservation was done alongside the construction on the adjacent Alrov Tower (built 1995-99), designed by architects Avraham Yaski and Yosi Sivan. This special construction project, which combines a historic reconstruction with an adjacent skyscraper, has encouraged similar projects nearby. Throughout the 1990s and until 2006, the building housed the offices and showrooms of Sotheby’s Auction House, and was renamed Sotheby’s House.
In 2006, the house was sold for over 35 million shekels to Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman and it is now called Heseg House. The house was donated to the philanthropic fund established by the couple, and after another restoration is used for philanthropic activities, primarily by the Heseg foundation – a scholarship fund for former soldiers.
- Houses From Within (2011-05-20). "Russian Embassy on Rothschild Boulevard". Tour no.75.
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