Royal College of Surgeons\

Transforming surgery for tomorrow

Reimagining RCS' Grade II* listed headquarters to celebrate the College’s rich heritage while providing a modern, flexible environment that supports their vision to be a modern global institution.

The project adapts and remodels the Grade II*-listed building on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, while constructing a new southern extension that creates a new public entrance for the world-renowned Hunterian Museum facing onto Portugal Street.

The reconfigured building - originally built in 1806-13 by George Dance and then extensively re-built by Charles Barry in 1834-36 - embraces a mix of conservation and contemporary intervention.

“The building is a wonderful blend of old and new, with an atmosphere that combines a legacy of excellence with future innovation.”

Jackie Weller Executive Director (Transform)/Deputy Chief Executive

The historic north façade has been retained through visible, ‘honest’ repairs, while post-war additions to the building have been replaced with state-of-the-art learning facilities and a flexible workplace for staff. Historically significant spaces, such as the Lumley Library, have been carefully refurbished and adapted to accommodate modern services and flexible uses.

The challenge

The Hunterian Museum, one of the most significant private museum collections in the UK, has been relocated to its original pre-WWII home on the ground floor level. The final piece of the project, the Museum will reopen in 2023, completing the building as the new home for surgical excellence in Britain.

The new elevation facing Portugal Street is finished in precast concrete and blends contemporary, rationalist design with classical proportions and a fluted motif in reference to the columns and pilasters of the historic Lincoln’s Inn Fields façade.

“We are very pleased to have an inclusive and welcoming space that suits everyone.

Our state-of-the-art facilities provide our fellows, members and the wider surgical community with a space where they can come together to learn and share ideas on how to advance surgical care.”

Jackie Weller Executive Director (Transform)/Deputy Chief Executive

The big idea

We researched the existing fabric with a 3D BIM survey, analysing archive drawings and intrusive site surveys to understand the capabilities and opportunities of the existing building. This enabled us to bring the existing fabric up to modern day standards, whilst respecting the sensitivities of a listed building, and understanding the complexities of its construction.

Conserving a Grade II*-listed landmark, providing state-of-the-art learning as well as workplace facilities, and opening up College collections to be publicly accessible, this project transforms the profile and presence of the college to the general public and the international surgical profession.

“The redevelopment of our Lincoln’s Inn Fields buildings is an important step for us in realising our vision to lead British surgery into the 21st century.

The new building will give us the best possible facilities for the profession and the visitors to our museum while embracing our prestigious heritage.”

Professor Derek Alderson President of the Royal College of Surgeons

Project Summary

Project Team

Project Manager: Lendlease
Cost Consultant:Artelia
Structural & Civil Engineer: AECOM
Landscape Architect: BD Landscape
Planning Consultant: Gerald Eve
Heritage Consultant: Montagu Evans


  • BD Architect of the Year Awards 2018 - Public Building Architect of the Year - Shortlisted

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