The present base of the presidential Palace was laid around 1730 with the extension by governor-general De Cheusses of what then was the government building. Its history mentions a large number of face-lifts, additions of buildings on the premises and last but not least the construction of a well. But in those earlier days the condition of the building was such that governor Texier apparently thought it necessary to rent the house of his predecessor Nepveu, Gravenstraat #6, as residence. A full scale renovation took place in 1780, in the course of which the facades and the roof were replaced. Some years later the front gallery was added. Still, governor Frederici thought the building was uninhabitable by the turn of the century. But expansions and rebuilding continued. A third floor was added by raising the centre part and constructing dormers and in the rear a gallery was attached.
Palace with 2 storeys (Benoît) 3rd floor with dormers added (Voorduin) Protruding front entrance, short gallery at the east end
Only an age later, in 1911, the large forecourt, 3 bays wide, was build and the existing gallery continued to the right. Ten years later the distinct ground floor extension to the right side of the building was constructed. Nowadays the building is three stories high, the front has 9 bays and an extension of one floor with three bays to the right-hand side. Both front and rear have a gallery, the 3 bay centre part has a strongly protruding frontcourt with a balcony on top.
The third floor actually is a large dormer, adorned with a large tympanum, with the arms of the Geoctrooieerde Sociëteit van Suriname. The saddle roof is covered with slates. The many extensions do follow the original style of the building which is characterized by the round arches of the galleries. These are continued in the semi-round skylights of the windows in the second floor, which gives the building a sense of harmony at least in front. The rear is a mess, caused by the many rebuilding sessions. Three arches are a reminder of the front. The next floor is squeezed low by an inclining roof and the four pediments are so different in style and proportion that they seem to belong to different buildings. The bonus in the rear is the garden, which merges into the Palmentuin (Palm garden).
Nowadays (2007) the palace is not used as a residence. Receptions are held in the building, but then practically everything has to be brought in; the interior is barren.
End 17th century: the government building consists of two floors, is 3 bays wide and has a steep roof. 1730 – Governor De Cheusses has the building reconstructed in brick and has it enlarged at the same time.
1742 – The building is in such terrible condition that governor Mauricius resides at his plantation and uses the building of his son in the Gravenstraat for official banquets.
1751 – A report is made with a list of necessary repairs. In the following years the building is renovated.
1774 – Renovation of the buildings in back takes place.
1776 – A well is dug in the garden.
1778 – Reports of leaking roofs and the poor condition of the attic.
1779 – A new report is written on the poor state of the building. Governor Texier takes up residence in the Nepveu house in the Gravenstraat.
1780 – A grand scale renovation takes place. The roof is rebuilt; the attic and the gables are restored. A new coach house is build.
1787 – The foundation of the front gallery is improved and an English garden is laid. Some of the “negro-dwellings” in the backyard are demolished and a nursery is installed instead.
1793 – Once again a report with improvements is written.
1834 – Important changes are implemented, commissioned by governor Van Heeckeren. The centre part is raised to three floors high, dormers are constructed and in the rear a gallery is added. Presumably the windows in Empire style date from this time.
1911 – The large frontcourt 3 bays wide is added, causing a roof terrace to come into existence, which is covered by a canopy.
1920 (around) – The gallery on the right-hand side is enlarged to 3 bays.