College of Medicine Building

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College of Medicine Building
College of Medicine Building, Dec 05.JPG
General information
TypeGovernment offices
Architectural styleLow-rise
LocationCollege Road, Bukit Merah, Singapore
Coordinates1°16′49″N 103°50′01.7″E / 1.28028°N 103.833806°E / 1.28028; 103.833806Coordinates: 1°16′49″N 103°50′01.7″E / 1.28028°N 103.833806°E / 1.28028; 103.833806
OwnerMinistry of Health
ManagementMinistry of Health
Technical details
Floor count3
Designated2 December 2002

The College of Medicine Building (Chinese: 医药学院大厦) is a historic building in Singapore, located within the grounds of the Singapore General Hospital at Outram Park, within the Bukit Merah Planning Area near Singapore's central business district.


Singapore's first medical training institution was established in 1905 in a former women's mental asylum at Sepoy Lines. The start of this medical school was significant in two ways. It was meant to train local men and women to bring Western medicine to the local population. It was handsomely supported by local merchants who took advantage of the tax exemptions of the time not to garner more wealth, but to give generously to public causes. Tan Jiak Kim gave the largest individual sum. Another donor, Tan Chay Yan even gave a building to the school in memory of his father, Tan Teck Guan.

In 1911, the Tan Teck Guan Building was a useful as well as elegant addition to the establishment. Originally named the Straits and Federated Malay States Government Medical School, the school was renamed King Edward VII College of Medicine in 1921. Around this time, a new building was planned.

The College of Medicine Building that stands today was built in 1926. When the University of Malaya was founded in 1949, the college became its Faculty of Medicine. Since then Singapore and Malaya have emerged as different nations. From 1982, the Faculty of Medicine was a part of the National University of Singapore.

New buildings and a new National University Hospital were erected at the new Kent Ridge campus. However, the College of Medicine Building in Sepoy Lines is preserved to be used as the seat of the National University of Singapore's Academy of Medicine, whose members are alumni. The building was restored from 1985-1987.

The College of Medicine Building was gazetted as a national monument on 2 December 2002.


The College of Medicine Building was built in reinforced concrete with a massive, floral Neo-Classical façade of Doric columns. This grand colonnade, designed by Italian sculptor Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli, dominates the building's façade, with bas reliefs depicting the Allegory of Healing on the walls on either side. Behind this colonnade are a row of eleven enormous doors. A sculptured Roman spread-eagle, encircled by a wreath, emblazons above the central doorway.

At one time, there was a long, elliptical pool of water in front of the building, which helped to reflect and soften its massive image, but this pool has long since vanished.

During the building's restoration in the 1980s, a grand staircase in the main lobby, which was in the original plan but somehow never built, was at long last installed where it belongs.


  • National Heritage Board (2002), Singapore's 100 Historic Places, Archipelago Press, ISBN 981-4068-23-3
  • Norman Edwards, Peter Keys (1996), Singapore - A Guide to Buildings, Streets, Places, Times Books International, ISBN 9971-65-231-5
  • Edwin Lee (1990), Historic Buildings of Singapore, Preservation of Monuments Board, ISBN 9971-88-224-8
  • Teo ES. The history of the College of Medicine and Tan Teck Guan Buildings. Annals of the Academy of Medicine of Singapore. 2005 Jul;34(6):61C-71C.

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