The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) needed a new, world-class, headquarters building to help achieve their mission: to transform the face of surgery, and provide a home for surgical excellence in the UK and worldwide. Their new building provides state of the art education, examinations, training and event facilities for the next generation of surgeons.
The challenge was to marry together the unique and important heritage of the institution and its historic building, with a modern, flexible and sustainable environment, celebrating its history while looking to the future.
After suffering severe bomb damage in WWII, a large portion of the original Charles Barry-designed building was destroyed, including the original Hunterian Museum halls. Rebuilt in the ‘60s with a sprawling warren of disorientating corridors, the existing building was inefficient and no longer fit for purpose.
Our approach was respectfully radical. Refurbishing the surviving parts of the historic building, and completely removing the post-war construction. The design celebrates the joining of the old and new, representative of the institution and its vision for the future of surgery.
A key aspect of the brief was to create a more public, outward-facing institution. The new Hunterian Museum has returned to its original home on the ground floor, with a new entrance and public cafe, around a large central atrium. The public are invited up into the heart fo the building to explore the extensive collections as an extension of the museum.
Open plan, flexible ‘activity based’ workspace, with centrally shared social and informal meeting space is arranged around the atrium at upper levels. The uppermost floor, beneath the vaulted rooflight, provides conference and event facilities with spectacular views across London.