Egyptian Building

Collections in the Classroom - Primary source for the Egyptian Building in Richmond, Virginia

Grade Level

Elementary, High, Middle, Pre-K

Time Period

1785-1850: Building America



Resource Type

Post-visit material, Primary Source

Download Classroom Connections: Egyptian Building (pdf)


  • Which parts of this building remind you of Egyptian design?
  • Why do you think the medical school decided to build this structure using classical design?
  • Notice the winged sun disk on the front of the building. What did the symbol represent for Egyptians? What does it represent on the building?


The Egyptian building was designed by an architect from Philadelphia named Thomas Sommerville Stewart to be the first permanent home for the Medical College of Virginia, now Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. The building was created in the Egyptian style in 1845 because it was believed that the origins of modern medicine emerged from the Egyptian physician, Imhotep. The building, still in use by VCU, is made from brick, stucco and cast iron and in 1995 the building celebrated it’s 150th anniversary.