Israeli architect and Israel Prize laureate Prof. Avraham Yaski died in Tel Aviv early on Friday at the age of 86. Yaski was born in Chisinau in what is now Moldova on April 14, 1927 and made aliya with his family in 1935.
As an architect, Yaski left a prominent imprint on the Tel Aviv landscape, having designed many iconic landmarks – from the Tel Aviv City Hall and square to the Azrieli Center skyscrapers.
“Professor Yaski was a founding father of modern architecture in Israel,” Amit Dovkin, a close friend and publicist for Moore Yaski Sivan Architects, told The Jerusalem Post. “During the last 60 years, his influence has been remarkable. One cannot speak of architecture in Israel without mentioning Avraham Yaski.”
At the age of 25, Yaski made the plans for what is now called Rabin Square, along with colleague Shimon Povsner, and then designed the Tel Aviv City Hall at the same location.
In 1965, he founded the architectural firm Moore Yaski Sivan Architects, which today is the largest architecture firm in Israel.
His three sons, Yaakov, Shaul and Yuval, all became architects.
“He started working as a young man in architecture, which became his life’s mission,” Dr. Yaakov Yaski told the Post. “He was one of the pioneers of Israeli architecture, designing many important buildings.”
Yaski’s firm designed the city’s iconic Azrieli Center, along with the Africa-Israel Tower, Opera Tower, the Matkal Tower, Tel Aviv Police Headquarters as well as many prominent malls, hospitals, office buildings, and residential towers.
Though Yaski’s later works focused on the use of glass and modern towers, he termed his first enterprises “the gray years,” referring to the exposed concrete buildings of early Tel Aviv.
He regarded his early work as the best period of his life. Yaski won the Israel Prize in 1982 and worked as an assistant professor at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology from 1987 until 1991 before going on to establish the School of Architecture at Tel Aviv University in 1994, where he served as the department’s head until 1998.
The funeral will be held at Tel Aviv’s Kiryat Shaul Cemetery at 11.30 a.m. on Sunday.