homespacervirtual tourspacerVisitor Infospacernewsspacercollectionspacerhistoryspacergift shop

Courtyard

Full View
removed bronze compas
existing bronze compas
Broad Street Line Entrance
cone roof cap
Courtyard
City Hall's architect, John McArthur, wanted all the offices in his design to front on a corridor and also receive natural sunlight. His solution was the courtyard. Located in the exact geographical center of William Penn's original Philadelphia city plan, the courtyard is where Market Street, Philadelphia's main East-West thoroughfare, intersects Broad Street, the main North-South city artery. A huge compass, with the original city map depicted in its center, has been painted to give visitors a visual orientation to the city and the building.

The courtyard is a busy place, as pedestrian traffic enters it through the four portals located at each compass point. It is used for numerous ceremonies throughout the year including an annual Christmas tree lighting. Looking up from the courtyard at the facade of the building, you will notice that it is devoid of the ornamentation so familiar to the exterior elevations. The scale is, however, overwhelming as the sheer mass of the thick walls and portal openings leaves a distinct impression of being within a castle compound.

Back To: back to city hall