Dominating the Plaza de Mayo, the Casa Rosada - or pink house - is the seat of the Argentine national government and houses the president's office.
Witness to much of the city's history, it was from the balconies of the Casa Rosada that Juan and “Evita” Perón addressed the masses during the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The Casa Rosada was constructed on the site of a fort established by the Spanish in 1580 and used by the Spanish colonial viceroys. After independence, the fort was redeveloped into a customs house by British architect Edward Taylor, and later, in 1862, the building was chosen by President Bartolomé Mitre to be the seat of his government. His successor Domingo Faustino Sarmiento later expanded the building and is believed to have ordered it to be painted pink in an attempt to diffuse political tensions by mixing the colours of the opposing political parties (the Federals used red, while the Unitarians used white). Another popular explanation for the building's distinctive colour is that it was at one painted with cows' blood as an alternative to paint because paint pealed in the humidity.
The central archway was designed by Italian architect Francisco Tamburini, who was also responsible for the original design of the Colón Theatre, and was completed in 1890.
The only president to live in the Casa Rosada was Roque Sáenz Peña, between 1910 and 1914.