Original features

October 29, 2009

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, part of the University of London, is housed in a classic Art Deco building close to the British Museum.

Opened in 1929, the pioneering steel-framed structure is faced with Portland stone designed in an austere Classical style. The novelist Graham Greene performed fire-watching duties in one of the wings during the Second World War.

The motif used as the school's logo - Apollo and Artemis riding a chariot - is represented in a carving above the main entrance. Rather more unusual are the gilded-bronze statues of disease-transmitting insects and animals, prominent on the first-floor balconies.

The names of 23 figures crucial to the development of public health and tropical medicine appear on a commemorative frieze, separated by laurel wreaths.

Shaped on plan like a capital "A", the building once incorporated two large open courtyards, although both have now been used for extensions.

On the north side is a seven-storey building set within a glass atrium, which was opened by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2004.

The south courtyard development, completed this year, has an energy-efficient design and incorporates state-of-the-art lecture theatres, teaching and research space, plus social areas.


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