It began as the Budget Building with the creation of the Budget Commission (now the Department of Budget and Management) in 1936. After World War II, it housed, for a time, the Supreme Court, as the Ayuntamiento de Manila had been destroyed during the Battle for Manila in February 1945.

In the postwar years, it was expanded on either side to form a greatly enlarged Administration Building containing the majority of administrative offices in the Palace compound. Plans to demolish it and build a high rise building in its place after it was gutted in a fire in 1992 were completely dropped due to budgetary constraints. President Fidel V. Ramos supervised its reconstruction as a spartan but well-ventilated and lit office complex, and renamed it Mabini Hall.