Gouvernment House (Casa Rosada)


The site on which the Casa Rosada is located was, throughout the history of Buenos Aires, the headquarters of the different and successive political authorities that ruled the country. Shortly after founding the City in 1580, Don Juan de Garay ordered a ditch and embankments formed with the same lands extracted from it, enclosing within the origin of what was later called “Royal Fortress of St. John Baltasar of Austria” or “Castillo de San Miguel”. Subsequently, in 1595, Governor Fernando de Zárate ordered a 120-meter walled construction to be erected, with a moat and a drawbridge, which rose in the block surrounded by the current Rivadavia, Balcarce and Hipólito Yrigoyen streets and Paseo Colón Avenue on the ravines that then overlooked the river. Finally, at the beginning of the 18th century a strong solid was built, made entirely of bricks, whose walls and bastions lasted until its demolition, a century and a half later. Already in the period of Independence, the House that had been the residence of Spanish governors and viceroys, housed, with very few reforms, the authorities of the successive patriotic governments: the Boards, the Triumphants, the Supreme Directors, the Governors of Buenos Aires and the First President of Argentina, Bernardino Rivadavia.

Abandoned and partially demolished, it returned to have prominence as the seat of political government from 1862, when Miter settled with his ministers, removing the former official residence of the fort. His successor, Sarmiento, decided to beautify the abode of the National Executive Power, endowing it with gardens and painting the pink facades, with which, later, he continued to characterize.

The construction of the current Government House began in 1873, when by decree it was ordered to build the Post and Telegraph building on the corner of Balcarce and Hipólito Yrigoyen.

A few years later, President Julio A. Roca decided to build the definitive Government Palace on the corner of Balcarce and Rivadavia, a building similar to the neighboring Post Office Palace. Both buildings joined in 1886 through the porch that today constitutes the entrance of the Casa Rosada that faces Plaza de Mayo.

With these constructions, the last enclosures of the old Fort disappeared, of which, however, some walls and a embrasure remain that are preserved and can be visited, adjacent to the Taylor Customs galleries in the Government House Museum.

Construction processes

The strong

In 1536 Don Pedro de Mendoza established a settlement called Our Lady of Good Ayre near the mouth of the Riachuelo de los Navios. In 1580, Juan de Garay made the foundation of the city in the place destined for the Plaza Mayor (today Plaza de Mayo), giving it the name of the Holy Trinity and preserving for the port, that of the first town. In 1594 the “Royal Fortress of Don Juan Baltasar of Austria” was built. In 1713 it is replaced by a more solid construction with towers, observation posts, drawbridge and moat that, when its defenses are completed in 1720, is called “Castillo de San Miguel”. In 1820, President Bernardino Rivadavia modified the Fort and replaced the drawbridge with a neoclassical porch. This site, destined for defense and seat of the Spanish authorities and of the national governments, is currently occupied by the Government House.One of its embrasures and the vault enclosure that was Warehouse of The Royal Treasury

New or Taylor Customs

Directed by the English architect Eduardo Taylor, in 1855 the “New Customs” is built bordering the back walls of the Fort and looking at the river. It is the first large public building in the young mercantile state of Buenos Aires; Its semicircular shape has five storey floors and fifty-one vaulted warehouses surrounded by galleries. From the central tower topped by a clock and a lighthouse, a loading and unloading dock of three hundred meters for the anchorage of the vessels of greater draft. Through two side ramps the cars, with merchandise, access the Patio de Maneuvers. It is used for almost forty years and is demolished to the first floor by the Puerto Madero project, leaving its base buried under the current Plaza Colón.

First construction

In 1873, Sarmiento ordered the construction of a post office in the place that had left free the demolition of the south wing of the Fort of Buenos Aires (Balcarce and Hipólito Yrigoyen streets). This project was carried out by the Swedish architect Carlos Kihlbrg, with a marked mixture of Italian denial and French details.

The Post Office

Given the insignificance that the Government House showed, in front of this new post office building, President Julio Argentino Roca asked the civil engineering department for a widening and repair project, approving the project of another Swedish architect named Enrique Aberg, which It proposed the demolition of the Fort and the construction of a building equal to the one of the mail, differentiating it by the incorporation of a balcony gallery in the first floor for the use of the authorities during the celebrations and parades. This marked the end of the Fort, retaining some walls and one of the embrasures that can be seen in the current Museum of the Government House.

The Pink House and the Post Office Palace

For aesthetic reasons and to solve space needs, it was thought to incorporate the Post Office Building into the Government House, which was entrusted to the architect Francisco Tamburini. To join the two buildings into one, he projected a large central arch, which is associated with the surroundings, where the New Customs and the Old Recova were located, to which the architect interpreted them as armed through a main axis, on the one that their income is located, emphasized by an arch of greater height.

United by the arch of Balcarce 50

The architect Francisco Tamburini designed the project and directed the works that gave the Casa Rosada its definitive structure and ornamentation.

The Palace

The building complex is developed on three levels on Balcarce Street and on four levels plus a basement / galleries of the Government House Museum, on Paseo Colón Avenue, occupying an area of ​​almost one block. All the original premises that are located on the three main facades have direct ventilation and lighting, while the original internal premises were designed so that ventilation and lighting are given through galleries that are organized around air and light patios . All of them, except one, were crowned with skylights, of which only two remained. The original structure consists of masonry bearing walls with variable thicknesses and slabs simply supported by brick vaults with steel or wood profiles, depending on the sector. As a result of a long construction process, the current building was officially inaugurated in 1898, during the second presidency of General Julio Argentino Roca.