Since its foundation in 1518, the RCP has had five headquarters in London. The current Grade I listed building in Regent’s Park was designed by architect Sir Denys Lasdun and opened in 1964. Considered a modernist masterpiece, it is one of London’s most important post-war buildings. 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’.
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The first headquarters of the College of Physicians were in Knightrider Street, south of St Paul’s Cathedral. The next premises was at nearby Amen Corner in 1614. This building was completely destroyed in 1666 by the Great Fire of London and the RCP was rebuilt in Warwick Lane by 1674. In 1825 the RCP moved again to fashionable Pall Mall East.
In 1958, the RCP bought Someries House in Regent’s Park to be the site of a new headquarters. The house had been designed by architect John Nash (1752–1835), and sustained bomb damage during World War II. The Crown Estate Commissioners had no objection to its demolition, as long as the new building harmonised with the adjoining Nash terraces and villas.
Sir Denys Lasdun won the competition to design the new headquarters in 1959. He was surprised at being asked to design for such a traditional body, given his modernist philosophy, and he made it clear that he would not create a classical style building. Ultimately he responded to the challenge with a skilful integration of centuries-old traditions and his own vision.