Built between 1978 and 1986, the Lloyd’s building was an innovative construction, having its services such as staircases, lifts, electrical power conduits and water pipes on the outside, leaving an uncluttered space inside. The twelve glass lifts were the first of their kind in the UK.
In 2008, The Twentieth Century Society called for the building to be Grade I listed and in 2011 it was granted this status. The Lloyd’s building is 88 metres to the roof, with 14 floors. It is important to note that (like the Pompidou Centre) this building was highly influenced by the work of Archigram in the 1950s and 1960s. The building is closed to the public. Once a year, however, during the so-called Open House Weekend- a two-day event which has taken place on one weekend each September throughout London since 1992, it is posible to explore the site.
The building consists of three main towers and three service towers around a central, rectangular space. Its focal point is the large Underwriting Room on the ground floor, which houses the famous Lutine Bell. The Underwriting Room is overlooked by galleries, forming a 60-metre high atrium lit naturally through a huge barrel-vaulted glass roof.
The first four galleries open onto the atrium space, and are connected by escalators through the middle of the structure. The higher floors are glassed-in, and can only be reached via the outside lifts. On top of each service core stand the cleaning cranes pushing the height to 95.10 metres. Modular in plan, each floor can be altered with the addition or removal of partitions and walls.
The first Lloyd’s building (at 12 Leadenhall Street) was built on this site in 1928. In 1958, due to expansion, a new building was constructed across the road at 51 Lime Street. In 1978, again due to the prospect of overcrowding, Lloyd’s commissioned Richard Rogers to redevelop the site.
The original 1928 building was demolished to make way for the present one which was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986. However, its entrance at 12 Leadenhall Street was preserved, and forms a rather incongruous attachment to the 1986 structure. Demolition of the 1958 building commenced in 2004 to make way for the Willis Building, a new 26-storey tower and ten-storey building.
The building was featured in several films, serials and video-clips. These includes such productions as “Hackers” (1995), “The Avengers” (1998), “Mamma Mia!” (2008), “Burn Up” (2008) TV series, “The Ghost Writer” (2010), “Climbing Great Buildings” (2010) and many others.