Israel's first president, Chaim Weizmann, lived in his private villa in Rehovot. His successor, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, lived in a modest apartment in Rehavia and used a wooden cabin, known as the "tzrif," as his official reception hall. After President Ben-Zvi's death in 1963, the government decided to build a permanent residence for the head of state. The original idea was to incorporate it in a complex of government ministries, but the state's third president, Zalman Shazar, who was very much a man of the people, wanted to live in a residential area and not in splendid isolation, and persuaded the government. As a result, they approved the construction of a permanent presidential residence on a 10-dunam plot in Talbiya. A competition for the architectural design was launched in 1964 and limited to Israeli architects. Of some 200 entries, the design submitted by Jerusalemite architect Aba Elhanani was selected. Beit HaNassi was inaugurated in 1971 by President Shazar.