The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. All U.S. presidents have had their residence in this building since John Adams in 1800.
The house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban and built between 1792 and 1800. It is made of white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone in the Neoclassical style. During the War of 1812, the mansion was set on fire by the British Army in the Burning of Washington. Reconstruction began almost immediately and it was used again in October 1817, although construction continued until 1829.
President Theodore Roosevelt had all work offices relocated to the newly constructed West Wing in 1901. Eight years later, President William Howard Taft expanded the West Wing and created the first Oval Office, while a newly constructed East Wing was used as a reception area for social events.
Today, the White House Complex includes the Executive Residence, West Wing, East Wing, the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which now houses offices for the President’s staff and the Vice President, and Blair House, a guest residence. The Executive Residence is made up of six stories, as well as a two-story basement.
The property is a National Heritage Site owned by the National Park Service and is part of the President’s Park. In 2007, it was ranked second on the American Institute of Architects list of “America’s Favorite Architecture”.
At the moment, the White House is open to both American and foreign visitors, although there are a number of requirements that must be fulfilled in order to take one of its guided tours. Public tour requests must be submitted in advance through one’s Member of Congress and entering with items such as cameras and handbags is not allowed.