Thursday, June 23, 2011

Robert N. C. Nix, Sr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Philadelphia is not especially well known for its collection of Art Deco/Moderne architecture, but it is home to some real treasures of 1930s design. One of my favorites is the monumental Robert N. C. Nix, Sr. Federal Building and Court House, taking up half of the block along the western side of 9th Street between Chestnut and Market. The Nix building was constructed between 1937-1939 as a project of the Public Works Administration, a federal initiative to provide jobs and economic activity surrounding public construction projects as part of the nation’s recovery from the Great Depression.

The Nix building is a stylized Moderne structure built out of Indiana Limestone, with simplified classical design elements. The entrances to the Court House, on Market and Chestnut, are flanked by huge bas-relief granite sculptures depicting allegories of justice and the rule of law. My favorites, however, are the bas-relief sculptures along 9th Street showing postal carriers in different parts of the United States. 

For especially good interior photos of the post office and courts, visit the General Services Administration page for the Robert N. C. Nix, Sr. Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse.

All photos above by Preservator.

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