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The old fort's administrative annex, which survived the construction of Taylor's Customs House, was enlisted as the Presidential offices by Bartolomé 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: red was the color of the Federales, while white was the color of the Unitarians. 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 with 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 Colón Avenue, unifying the Casa Rosada with Parque Colón (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 the 2001 economic crisis. The work is scheduled for completion on the 2010 bicentennial of the May Revolution that led to independence.

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Additional Photos by Andre Bonavita (bona) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1276 W: 116 N: 2520] (12478)
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