Old Consulate

Old Consulate
Refurbishment of the old consulate of Rhodes

In 1893, the mansion of Savvas Pavlidis, the first elected mayor of Rhodes during the final years of Turkish rule, was constructed in the area of Niochori. Later, it served as the Greek Consulate until the period of Italian occupation, holding immense historical significance both symbolically and literally in the Dodecanese’s struggle for liberation.

This two-story building, a fine example of typological construction by skilled artisans of its time, features an auxiliary building adjacent to its rear face. Its internal layout comprises a central corridor with rooms on either side, while its external form exhibits minimal decoration, placing it chronologically among the first examples that embrace the aesthetic clarity of classical style.

When restoring a work of art, specialized conservators employ their expertise, available technologies, and techniques to return the work to its original form, ensuring it appears as if it were never worn. However, can the same be achieved in architecture? And even if possible, is it desirable?

This particular building, which previously housed the Greek consulate, briefly transformed into a City Museum and now functions as an office building for two significant public services involved in development and sustainability matters. It is a structure that has evolved organically over time, adapting its compositional elements to meet current needs.

The design of the workplace aimed to create multiple associations, expressed through the building’s structure. For instance, the transitional spaces and office passageways feature a tactile, rough plaster
in a Sand color, distinguishing them as movement areas, while the offices are painted in an off-white hue to diffuse light. Flexible boundaries were introduced in offices with related functions to enable or limit communication between them. Service areas maintain minimum lighting and are painted in a bright red color.

Regarding the exterior treatment, several variations were considered during the synthetic process, ultimately opting for a dark blue color, which aligns with the historical significance of the building as a symbol and bastion of Hellenism during the occupation period.

Special attention was given to the design of mechanical equipment guides to avoid intrusions into the building and preserve existing structures. New interventions were deliberately distinct from the
historic shell, designed to be visitable and engage with it. Neutral, perforated, and lightweight materials were chosen, forming a peripheral circulation around the ceilings to accommodate all necessary
mechanical functions.

Finally, the arrangement and design of mobile and fixed furniture, as well as lighting, were conceived as a continuation of the existing building’s centripetal arrangement. Large pieces of furniture were strategically placed at the room’s center, proportionally balanced and spread along the walls, serving as workbenches or storage spaces. All furniture is presented in white, creating a neutral backdrop to emphasize the human presence that inhabits them.

Location: Rhodes, Greece

Architects: P4architecture 

Design Team: Evangelos Fokialis

Construction: Acme Ike

Woodworking: Bardos wood

Metal Fabrication: Kounelles Kostas

Images: Yorgos Papastergis

Project Type: Offices – Reuse (Completed)

Project Year: 2021