ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY

The French Consulate was situated in two buildings constructed in a large garden located between the shore and Mecidiye Avenue 1825–1835. After the earthquake in 1852, Parisian architect Edmond Renaud designed a new structure, but a fire in 1866 and an earthquake in 1880 damaged this building. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French government asked architect Emmanuel Pontremoli to design a new edifice. The new building, which Pontremoli placed close to the sea, was completed in 1906.

The large fire in 1922 damaged many buildings in Kordon; the French consulate building survived the fire since it was made of stone. The restoration process, concerning the repair of the damaged wood parts of the building, was initiated by Raymond Pere, who was also the architect of Izmir Clock Tower, lasted until 1929.

The parts of the consulate building facing the sea were used as the residency and reception lounges, while the side facing the avenue was used as consulate offices. The building served as the Izmir French Consulate General until September 1983 and starting in May 1984, it started to serve as the French Honorary Consulate.

The French Consulate building is one of the few buildings in Izmir that was built 130 years ago and survived to this day. In October 2010, Arkas Holding started a new restoration process with the collaboration of architect Niko Filidis and ALTERA Architecture in order to restore the sea-facing section of the building and to bring it to life as Arkas Art Center. After 8 months of work, the building was insulated properly, and the wood sections, electricity, sanitary and security infrastructure were renewed; the facade was cleaned. Thus, the building achieved a strong infrastructure and became younger by 50 years; the sea-facing side of the building became a contemporary, well-equipped art center.

Arkas Art Center was opened to viewers in November 2011 and continues to share Izmir’s cultural identity with the international art world through the important exhibitions.