Rockefeller Foundation, Peking Union Medical College

Beijing, China | 1921

Completed in 1921, Peking Union Medical College comprised 14 hospital, medical school, and laboratory buildings. Based on the site of a former palace and gardens near the southeastern corner of the Forbidden City, Peking Union combined an up-to-date Western medical facility with an exterior that harmonized with its surroundings in central Beijing. The gray brick of the palace was used to face the buildings, while green glazed tile, usually reserved for imperial palaces and temples, was used for the roofs.

The project was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, which established the China Medical Board in 1914 to oversee construction of a hospital, academic, and research complex in Peking. The foundation selected Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge for the project, because of its work for the University of Chicago and Harvard medical schools, and the Rockefeller Institute in New York. John D. Rockefeller, Jr, and W.W.Yen, China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended dedication ceremonies on September 19, 1921.

When it opened the Medical School offered a five-year program for male and female students. The complex also included a 250-bed hospital with outpatient clinics, labs, a nurse training school, and a premedical school. Some, but not all, of the original buildings remain, and are central elements of the Medical College campus.

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