Egyptian Building

1200 E. Marshall St.

Egyptian Building

Historical FeaturePublic Space/Square


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Completed in 1845, this was the first building put up especially for the Medical College of Virginia, and remains the oldest medical college building in the South. An exotic edifice, it is considered by many to be the finest Egyptian Revival building in the country.

The Egyptian Building, designed by Philadelphia architect Thomas S. Steward, was completed in 1845. The building was the first permanent home of the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College (later the Medical College of Virginia). Originally the building housed medical lecture rooms, a dissecting room, an infirmary and hospital beds for medical and surgical cases. The building is constructed from brick, stucco and cast iron.

The Egyptian Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969. It is considered to be the finest example of Egyptian Revival architecture in the United States. The building was restored in 1939 by the architects, Baskerville and Son. At that time the interior of the building was remodeled to carry out the Egyptian style.

The most significant architectural features of the building are: its battered walls-thinner at the top than at the bottom to give an impression of solidarity and height; the diamond paned windows incorporated without a style break; the columns of reeds bunched together with palm leaf capitals; and the cast iron fence with mummy cases forged by R.W. Barnes of Richmond, Va. The external ornament is the disc of the sun goddess who joins the sun god, Re, in his journey across the sky. The sun disc represents eternity, the serpent represents wisdom and the wings represent spirit.

On the interior, the lotus flower design is used repeatedly. The interior colors are deeply symbolic and have a mystic meaning: red represents divine love, blue represents divine intelligence and the golden yellow represents the mercy of God. Hieroglyphics are incorporated in the lobby decorations, and the floor tiles depict a large scarab beetle.

The building has been in continuous use since 1845. It has small classrooms on the second floor used by all schools on VCU’s MCV Campus, faculty and administrative offices of Office of Continuing Medical Education on the third floor and the the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation the fourth floor and the 270-seat Baruch Auditorium on the first floor.

Directly to the west of the Egyptian Building across a small plaza is the newly constructed eight-story Medical Sciences Building, which will be occupied in early 1996. The architectural structure of the four major entrance-way columns of the Medical Sciences Building are a modern reflection of the impressive columns on the Egyptian Building.


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Egyptian Building

Egyptian Building

image added by alissa.akins



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