On Sunday 5 September the RCP are taking part in Open House, the world’s largest architectural festival. This year, while our building remains closed, our events are once again online.
You could join us for a live guided virtual architectural tour of the RCP’s striking Regent’s Park building. Or join our curator Lowri Jones for a lunchtime talk about our current exhibition RCP Unseen exploring many of the hidden treasures housed in purpose-built areas of our Grade I listed property. All our events, as with all of the Open House festival, are free to attend.
Take a look below to find out more about how you can enjoy the day and book to take part.
‘A building, a body’: a virtual architectural tour of the RCP
In 1958 architect Denys Lasdun won the commission to design the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) a new home. A modern home that would demonstrate the RCP’s new commitment to improving public health. A building that would reflect the institution’s 500-year history and create purposefully designed spaces in which to care for its archives, rare books and historic collections. Lasdun was faced with an enormous challenge: his modernist building must reflect both the RCP’s forward-thinking attitude and its centuries of history. Lasdun was interested in the life his buildings would contain and strove to provide his client not with what they wanted but with what they ‘never dreamed [they] wanted’.
Join us for a virtual exploration of the modernist masterpiece Lasdun designed, discover how Lasdun fulfilled the RCP’s contradictory brief, and how the spaces he created continue to care for its occupants and its history.
There are two live virtual tours available on Sunday 5 September at 11am and 3pm:
RCP Unseen: curator talk
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has been collecting objects, works of art, recorded interviews, rare books and documents for over 500 years.
Housed in purpose-built areas of our Grade I listed property at the edge of Regent’s Park our vast collections work hard behind the scenes, informing current research projects, enriching RCP ceremonies and reaching international audiences through events and exhibitions. Fragile objects are conserved to ensure the safekeeping of the RCP's unique legacy.
Explore the history of medicine like you’ve never seen it before through these unseen riches and hear Lowri's personal insights into the objects chosen.
Come and delve into our collections to discover never-seen-before curiosities, and discover previously hidden stories from the history of medicine and beyond.
This is a live virtual event.
Denys Lasdun's Royal College of Physicians
The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is one of London’s most important and provocative buildings. It is one of only a handful of Grade I listed post-war buildings and a firm favourite at Open House, the annual architecture festival that champions great design for all. Designed by British architect Sir Denys Lasdun (1914-2001), the building is set amongst the Regency terraces of Regent’s Park.
The Regent’s Park building was commissioned in 1959 and opened in 1964. It is the RCP’s fifth home since its foundation in 1518. The RCP was given permission to demolish a bomb-damaged John Nash villa on the site on the condition that the new building harmonised with its surroundings. Lasdun was appointed after making it clear that he would not create a classical building. In 1992 Lasdun was awarded the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Trustees Medal in recognition of his work at the RCP, considered to be ‘the best architecture of its time anywhere in the world’.
Open House London
Open House London, the world’s largest architectural showcase begins with a weekend of events on 4 - 5 September and runs until 12 September. Over 800 buildings across London will offer a range of hybrid events to the public across the festival – all free.
The event gives the public a unique opportunity to explore and learn about how the city is developing, and discover how great design – in architecture, urban design, planning and infrastructure – can transform the lives of everyday people for the better.