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Casa Rosada

La Casa Rosada (the Pink House) is the official seat of the executive branch of the government of Argentina, and of the offices of the President. The President normally resides at the Quinta de Olivos, a compound in Olivos, Buenos Aires Province.

The Casa Rosada sits at the eastern end of the Plaza de Mayo, a large square which since the 1580 foundation of Buenos Aires has been surrounded by many of the most important political institutions of the city and of Argentina. The site, originally at the shoreline of the Rio de la Plata, was first occupied by the "Fort of Juan Baltazar of Austria," a structure built on the orders of the founder of Buenos Aires, Captain Juan de Garay, in 1594. Its 1713 replacement by a masonry structure (the "Castle of San Miguel") complete with turrets made the spot the effective nerve center of colonial government. Following independence, President Bernardino Rivadavia had a Neoclassical portico built at the entrance in 1825, and the building remained unchanged until, in 1857, President Justo Jose de Urquiza ordered the fort demolished in favor of a new customs building. Under the direction of British Argentine architect Edward Taylor, the Italianate structure functioned as Buenos Aires' largest building from 1859 until the 1890s.

The old fort's administrative annex, which survived the construction of Taylor's Customs House, was enlisted as the Presidential offices by Bartolome Mitre in the 1860s and his successor, Domingo Sarmiento, who beautified the drab building with patios, gardens and wrought-iron grillwork, had the exterior painted pink reportedly in order to defuse political tensions by mixing the red and white colours of the country's opposing political parties. An alternative explanation suggests that the original paint contained cow's blood to prevent damage from the effects of humidity. Sarmiento also authorized the construction of the Central Post Office next door in 1873, commissioning Swedish Argentine architect Carl Kihlberg, who designed this, one of the first of Buenos Aires' many examples of Second Empire architecture.

Presiding over an unprecedented socio-economic boom, President Julio Roca commissioned architect Enrique Aberg to replace the cramped State House by one resembling the neighboring Central Post Office in 1882. Following works to integrate the two structures, Roca had architect Francesco Tamburini build the iconic Italianate archway between the two in 1884. The resulting State House, still known as the "Pink House," was completed in 1898 following its eastward enlargement, works which resulted in the destruction of the customs house.

A Historical Museum was created in 1957 to display presidential memorabilia and selected belongings, such as sashes, batons, books, furniture, and three carriages. The remains of the former fort were partially excavated in 1991, and the uncovered structures were incorporated into the Museum of the Casa Rosada. Located behind the building, these works led to the rerouting of Paseo Colon Avenue, unifying the Casa Rosada with Parque Colon (Columbus Park) behind it. Plans were announced in 2009 for the restoration of surviving portions of Taylor's Customs House, as well.

The Casa Rosada itself is currently undergoing extensive renovation delayed by an economic crisis around 2001. The work is scheduled for completion on the 2010 bicentennial of the May Revolution that led to independence.


The President sits at his or her office on a seat known as the "Seat of Rivadavia." The seat itself did not actually belong to Bernardino Rivadavia, the first President of Argentina; but is instead an homage to the early statesman.

The Hall of Busts houses marble busts of the many Presidents of Argentina, made by diverse artists both national and international. The list is not complete, as it does not feature some heads of state that took power by coups (such as Videla), nor national authorities in the times when there wasn't yet a designated presidential office (such as Rosas). Currently, the busts are only made for presidents who have been out of office for at least 2 presidential mandates; the most current one is that of Raul Alfonsin.


File:Despacho Presidencial argentino 2.JPG|The President's offices

File:Salon de los bustos, Casa Rosada.jpg|The Hall of Busts

File:Patio de las Palmeras, Casa Rosada.jpg|The Palm Tree Patio

File:Salon Blanco 2.JPG|The White Hall

File:Salon Norte 2.JPG|The North Hall

File:Salon Sur 2.JPG|The South Hall

File:Salon Mujeres del Bicentenario.JPG|Hall of Bicentennial Women

File:Ascensor presidencial.JPG|Presidential elevator


File:Casa Rosada-ART.JPG|The presidential balcony

File:Parque Colon Casa Rosada.jpg|Monument to Christopher Columbus, behind the Casa Rosada

File:Fachada de la Casa Rosada, vista desde Av. Rivadavia.jpg|View of the north wing and the porte-cochere

Historical images

File:Fuerte de Buenos Aires.jpg|The old Fort

File:Aduana Nueva (1864).jpg|Taylor's Customs House

File:CasaRosada1890.png|The former Post Office and State House shortly before their 1884 unification

See also

President of Argentina

External links

Official site

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Casa Rosada

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