Learn more about Philadelphia Architecture... Online Or On Your Phone
Explore Philadelphia's architectural treasures with AIA Philadelphia's Building Finder. Use your laptop or desktop computer to peruse the many different architectural styles found within the city limits, or use your smartphone to create an impromptu architectural tour of the city. AIA Philadelphia Members are encouraged to login to the site and provide commentary on the buildings found in the Building Finder, creating an untold history of Philadelphia's most recognized buildings. For a more in-depth look at Philadelphia's iconic architecture, visit the AIA Bookstore and Design Center to purchase a copy of Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, published by the Center for Architecture.
22nd Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA 19130
Architect(s): Paul Philippe Cret and Jacques Greber
The Rodin Museum houses the largest collection of Auguste Rodin's work outside France. The museum and collection were the gift of Dr. Jules Mastbaum, who asked Jacques Greber to prepare preliminary plans. Greber, a French landscape architect who drew the final plans for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, invited Paul Philippe Cret to collaborate.
The gateway to the museum is a replica of the Chateau d'Issy, reconstructed by Rodin for his own home in Meudon, France. It leads to a formal garden beyond which the architects placed a small, well-proportioned classical temple on a high podium. The interior walls are decorated with murals by well-known Philadelphia painter Franklin Watkins.
Several of Rodin's most popular sculptures are incorporated into the architectural composition, including "The Thinker" and "The Gates of Hell," the bronze doors located at the entrance to the museum.
Rohm and Haas Building
6th and Market streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date Constructed: 1964
Architect(s): Pietro Belluschi with George M. Ewing
Rohm and Haas, founded in 1909, is one of the country’s leading chemical processors and the producer of plexiglass. When the company outgrew its headquarters on Washington Square, it became the first private investor to build on Independence Mall. The mall and facing blocks on either side were cleared of older buildings as part of the city’s urban renewal program. New buildings were expected to be of contemporary design to contrast deliberately with the Georgian style of Independence Hall.
The Rohm and Haas Building was designed by Pietro Belluschi, then dean of the school of architecture at M.I.T. He advocated the use of subdued color tones, resulting in a handsome, restrained, nine-story structure of concrete faced with dark bronze sunscreens and spandrel panels. Belluschi used plexiglass, manufactured by the company, for the sunscreens and spandrels and for the prominent lighting fixtures, designed by the Bauhaus artist Gyory Kepes, in the ground floor lobby and bank.
Second Bank of the United States
420 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Date Constructed: 1818-24
Architect(s): William Strickland
The Second Bank was founded in 1816. Nicholas Biddle, its most influential president, was a tireless champion of Greek architecture. When the bank held a competition for the design of its new building, Biddle required all architects to use the Greek style.
William Strickland’s design is one of the first Greek Revival buildings in the country. Modeled on the Parthenon, it features plain Doric columns and little decoration except for the triglyphs and metopes on the entablature. The structure appears to be solid marble. In contrast to the Greek exterior, the interior is Roman. A barrel-vaulted ceiling covers the banking hall.
President Jackson’s veto of the bank’s charter in 1832 led to its demise. Strickland altered the building in 1844 for use as the U.S. Customs House, which it remained until 1935. Now part of Independence National Park, the Second Bank houses a portrait gallery with 185 paintings of colonial and federal leaders by such artists as Charles Wilson Peale and Gilbert Stuart.