The plan of Building I recalls that of private houses found in Macedonian cities. It covers an area of 7500 square meters and comprises a large central courtyard surrounded by four porticoes with columns in the Doric order that form a peristyle. The rooms of the porticoes were used for a variety of activities.
The building is built on a terrace, at a higher level than the Propylon, because of the natural slope of the hill from North-East to South-West.
Three apsidal platforms of different size, interpreted as exedrae, are located in the central courtyard (which covers an area of 900 square meters), on the south, east and west sides. The foundations of a further structure, a rectangular altar, are preserved at the centre of the courtyard.
Of the four porticoes that surround the courtyard, three (the eastern, southern and western ones) are 6 m wide, while the northern portico is 9 meters wide. It is remarkable that the foundation of the wall of the northern portico is 2.5 m wide, probably because of the weight of the roof it had to support, but also because of the possible existence of a staircase leading to the formal rooms that were at a higher level further to the north. Another foundation, 0.6-1.0 m wide and 30.4 m long, visible just north of the colonnade, is interpreted as a podium for the placement of votive statues and tripods.
The formal rooms of the building were behind the northern portico, where three further walls with an east-west orientation have been found. The northern, external wall is once again very thick, because it was also used as a retaining wall for the terrace further north. The second wall, which today cuts through the rooms, is later, probably of Byzantine date, and it incorporates a lot of building material of earlier date. It most probably runs on the course of an earlier wall, constructed in the initial phase of the building. This wall was probably replaced at some point by another one, whose foundation has been uncovered further south, in a very fragmentary state. The construction of this wall divided the area into two rooms of unequal size. The larger, to the north, with a size of 17.7×22 m, is the Andron, the formal room reserved for holding hearings, councils and further events of political, administrative, and social character, including banquets (symposia). On either side of the Andron there were smaller rooms, where there are indications for the existence of staircases leading to a second floor. Suggestive of the existence of a second floor is also the presence of architectural material of the Ionic order, which was usually reserved for that, and the discovery of a small room at the north-east corner of the building at a much higher level than that of the Andron. Finally, concerning the reconstruction of this part of the building there have been different suggestions.
At the two ends of the northern portico of Building I, at the juncture with the eastern and the western porticoes, there are two rooms that feature an apse within a rectangle. The eastern apse is bigger than the western one, it is horse-shoe shaped in plan, and it preserves traces of an elaborate entrance. The apse of the western room was less carefully constructed, which indicates a different construction time.
The plan of the rooms of the eastern and the western wings is not clear, because the internal walls are poorly preserved. There are rooms in the western wing that also served Building II, since they were from accessible from there. The large apsidal structure (with a radius over 15 m) that is fragmentarily preserved in the area and faces to the west is almost certainly associated with activities performed in Building II. Of interest is the small rectangular courtyard at the north-western part of the building, which provided access to Building II to the west and Building IV to the north.
The southern wing was founded on fill deposits and is preserved in a very fragmentary state. The internal walls have not survived.
Building I was constructed as part of the palatial complex around the middle of the 4th century BC by Philip II. During the reign of Cassander and especially that of Antigonos Gonatas it was heavily and extensively modified. There were certainly minor modifications during its period of use that are impossible to trace any more. In many instances, understanding the different phases and distinguishing the earlier walls (middle of the 4th century BC) from the later ones (first half of the 3rd century BC) was based on the observation of the construction of the foundations of the walls and other details, rather than excavation data, because the latter are largely absent.
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