RCP unseen audience selection
RCP Unseen: audience selection
We asked you which object from our rare book, archive and museum collections you would like to find out more about.
Commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), 1960s
This London Architecture Bronze Medal was awarded to the architects Denys Lasdun and Partners by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 1964. It was awarded after the completion of the RCP’s current headquarters in Regent’s Park, which is today considered to be Lasdun’s finest building. Lasdun (1914–2001) was later awarded the prestigious RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 1977 after the completion of his design for the National Theatre on London’s South Bank.
When the RCP’s new headquarters opened in 1964, the public’s reaction to Lasdun’s striking brutalist building was mixed, and occasionally hostile. It was described as looking like an ocean liner and a sausage factory. Even the physicians themselves were initially hesitant, but eventually gave the design their unanimous support.
Lasdun’s building successfully fulfilled the RCP’s brief, which was to create a home for a modern and forward-thinking medical institution, while still retaining a sense of the college’s 500-year history through the prominent inclusion of its historic collections. Today, the building is Grade-I listed and recognised internationally as a masterpiece of modernist architecture.
Unexpectedly, the RCP cares for a collection of medals. This includes a significant number of commemorative items, including medical awards and medals commissioned by medical institutions to commemorate events. There are also a number of military medals from the First and Second World Wars. Most items relate to individual physicians who were members and fellows of the college.