Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group


First Advisor

David Leatherbarrow


This dissertation examines notions of functional economy in the designs of workplaces for agricultural cooperatives in Israel between 1940 and 1976. In particular, it analyzes the work of architects Arieh Sharon and Emmanuel Yalan in shaping an aesthetic and practical design approach to standard and optimal programmatic envelopes. These two men played primary roles in mediating between the pre-state cooperative culture and the discourse of a workers’ state. The dissertation also introduces a number of architects who played more minor roles. Through case studies and analyses of these architects’ writings, the dissertation argues that the designs for cooperative institutions, and for agricultural cooperatives more particularly, shed significant light on the architectural discourse of progress and development in post-independence Israel. It also clarifies the ways this discourse functioned both locally and globally. Agricultural cooperatives were key players in the promotion of Jewish sovereignty in Palestine prior to independence and under conditions of resource scarcity. As such, they defined both architectural standards and their differentiated system of representation, which technical and civic design tasks adopted. Despite the centrality of industrialization and the standardization of building practices in the first two decades after independence, pre-independence influences—most relevantly in this dissertation, interwar Modernism and cooperative history—continued to define and inflect architectural culture after independence.

The dissertation chronicles how the shift after 1948 to a discourse of regional cooperation and comprehensive planning and development has reconfigured two issues of functional economy: the optimum standard and a differentiated system of rural-urban representation. By examining the designs devised for rural production facilities for the Jewish Agency and a range of co-op administrative headquarters, this dissertation shows how architects, through ongoing references to local institutional networks originating in the cooperative experience, posited architecture’s civic impact on nation-building.

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