If the Argentine president is not in residence, you can walk inside the gates for a closer look at the impressive Italianate Eclectic design of Casa Rosada. The government complex evolved in stages since the late 16th century. Starting in 1594, this was the site of a colonial fort. It was replaced by the Castle of San Miguel in 1720. In 1857, the property was cleared for the construction of the huge Taylor’s Customs House. A post office was added next door in 1879. The two buildings were combined with a central archway in 1898 to form the State House. So why is the building pink? According to legend, President Domingo Sarmiento selected the paint during his administration (1868 – 1874) to appease the Federalist Party (whose color was red) and the white representing the Unitarian Party.