“God is in the (Philadelphia) Details.”

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 - 1969), Architect

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 – 1969), Architect

The great German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said about buildings that “God is in the Details”. If that is so, then Philadelphia has shown me that its essence as a city takes flight in the timeless beauty of its decorative elements.

I have been in Philadelphia for two weeks for an extremely intense period of study with Robert Durso, with whom I studied this summer in Princeton and with whom I shared a concert here in Philadelphia in March. Because of long daily walks to lessons from where I am staying on Walnut Street in Center City all the way north of Fairmount in the Museum District, I have had a chance each day to take pictures along the way. This was a very time-consuming project, but the beauty of the city made it worth my time, and gave me all the photos you see below. All the photos are my own; click for full size on any of them.


Rodin Museum and Lamp-post base

Bay Windows

Bay Windows on Green Street and an 1890s Fireplace


Near Rittenhouse Square

Row 1

Fairmount Row Houses

Downtown 1

Art Deco mailbox and an iron window grill

Rittenhouse 2 Row 2 Row 3 Downtown 2 Downtown 3 Downtown 4 Downtown 5 Green 1 Green 4 Green 2 Green 5 Green 3

Eastern State Penitentiary: Tyrannical Solitude

Eastern State Penitentiary was a Quaker prison, and America’s first penitentiary (the idea of reformation in total isolation). Prisoners never saw each other or were made aware of the others’ presence. It was in a wagon-wheel spokes design and ran from 1829 to 1971. Al Capone was briefly here, and the location is one of the most luminous and haunting I can imagine.


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Doors 1 Doors 2 Chestnut 1


Between Walnut and Chestnut Streets

Facades Gardens Walnut Details


  • MG

    Z= Such super photos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 29, 2013
  • Beautiful pictures Zsolt!! Makes me feel like I’m walking along the streets in Philly and wish I was there

    August 29, 2013

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