The United States Custom House is a historic United States federal government building in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Built between 1932 and 1934 to the Art Deco designs of the architectural firm of Ritter & Shay, the building occupies an entire block between Second, Chestnut, and Samson Streets and the former Exchange Place in the heart of the oldest section of the city. Its south and west sides border Independence National Historic Park. At 17 stories and 287 ft tall, the massive building towers above other nearby historic buildings of the shipping, financial, and commercial quarter. The building currently houses federal offices for the FDA, Passport and customs services.
The final major work by Ritter & Shay, one of the most prominent architectural firms in Philadelphia, the new building respected its historic eighteenth-century neighborhood through the use of classical details on the broad, low base. However, it also reflected its own time with a bold, setback Art Deco tower with sheer surfaces and a tapered silhouette.
The U.S. Custom House occupies an entire city block in the heart of Philadelphia's Historic District between Second, Chestnut, American, and Sansom Streets. It rises 17 stories from its base to its lantern. The 264-foot-square, three-story base is clad in limestone with decorative aluminum details and steel casement windows. The classically inspired base is highly responsive to the surrounding Georgian and Federal architecture. Semicircular metal bas-relief panels depicting American industry, commerce, and trade are set beneath the arched door openings of the main entrance.