Casa Rosada

Buenos Aires Argentina

Evening on the Plaza de Mayo. For some season a great big fence is set up over the entire length of the Plaza, making it difficult to find an angle to take a picture of the Casa Rosada. Finally found a gap in the gate and with security guards looking at me with distrust I squeeze the lens through the gap and take this shot.

Photo details: Exposure 4 sec at f/11 (ISO 100), Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark III with a EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 36mm.

Photo by: Iwillbehomesoon. Image license Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-3.0).

La Casa Rosada (English: The Pink House) is the executive mansion and office of the President of Argentina. The palatial mansion is known officially as Casa de Gobierno, which means “House of Government” or “Government House” in English language. Normally, the President lives at the Quinta de Olivos, the official residence of the President of Argentina, which is located in Olivos, Buenos Aires Province. The characteristic colour of the Casa Rosada is baby pink, and is considered one of the most emblematic buildings in Buenos Aires. The Casa Rosada also has a museum, which contains objects relating to former presidents of Argentina. The Casa Rosada has been declared a National Historic Monument of Argentina.
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 Río 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, the fort was 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 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 (Wikipedia).

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