Tel Aviv’s Reading Power Station, built in 1938 on the mouth of the Yarkon River, embodies the forward-thinking spirit of the British Mandate of Palestine and the Palestine Electric Company, (today the Israel Electric Corporation or IEC), under its visionary founder Pinchas Rutenberg. The Modernist 3-story structure housed the country’s first turbine and over the years, its distinctive cooling tower became a landmark for the north of the city.
Once perceived as forbidding and polluting, Reading has now been converted to more friendly natural gas fuel, its 1930s era facade has been restored and it is now surrounded by a park with walking, running and biking paths leading to the bustling Tel Aviv Port complex.
And yet, shades of the old Reading remain. In an exhibit, entitled Reading Terminal, now on at the Eretz Israel Museum, photographer Esty Meidan captures the mystery of a restricted area that is — like IEC — an entity unto itself.
Curator Kineret Palti writes, “Meidan photographed the terminal as a promise, without photographing the city itself. She remained at the entrance and scrutinized the events in the terminal as if in a miniature world…
“Cars driving in and out (except for a light-blue caravan which is for sale; it is parked there permanently and changes its location from time to time)…
“…tiny birds moving along the asphalt between the cars, tempting advertisements hinting at what awaits those who cross the Rubicon which is the Yarkon River.
“A small building which serves the vehicle mechanics has become a kind of home away from home, with a chicken coop, a small yard and an assortment of items – an entire universe in a seemingly ordinary area.
The photographs reflect change and renewal, changing times, order and disorder, promise and enticement, emotion and loneliness in a large area – the Reading Terminal.”