The French Consulate was composed of two buildings constructed within the large garden that was located between the shore and Mecidiye Street during the years 1825 and 1835. After the earthquake in 1852, Parisian architect Edmond Renaud designed a new structure, but a fire in 1866 and an earthquake in 1880 consecutively re-damaged the building. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French government asked architect Emmanuel Pontremoli to design a new building once more. The brand-new building, which Pontremoli planned to be by the seaside, was completed in 1906.
While many buildings in Kordon were destroyed in the great fire in 1922, the stone built French Consulate building managed to escape the fire.The restoration process concerning the repair of the damaged wooden parts of the building was initiated by Raymond Pere, who was also the architect of the famous Izmir Clock Tower and lasted until 1929. The parts of the consulate building facing the sea were used as 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.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 important exhibitions.