Lloyd's of London

Lloyd's of London - Conception

Flexibility was a key concern and the provision of uninterrupted trading space was a necessity. From this need the form of the building was set, allocating all renewable elements, required by a complicated office building, to the extremity of the floor plate. This allowed the necessary maintenance and the replacement of moving parts to be accommodated without disruption to the day to day underwriting process in The Room, as well as providing legibility and scale to the façade. The outline proposal presented to Lloyd’s in June 1979 showed a building with all the essential elements that were eventually constructed. It was to total around 48,000 square metres (522,000 square feet), a 66% increase on the existing accommodation and required the demolition of the 1928 building, restricting Lloyds operations to the 1958 site during construction.

The Redevelopment Committee enthusiastically embraced the proposal which featured a glazed atrium surrounded by galleries, some of which would be lettable offices. The concept offered Lloyd’s a building with greatly enhanced value achieving an 8:1 plot ratio in town planning terms, and the element of flexibility which could respond to change.

The concept of ‘Served and Servant’ spaces , in which servant zones such as stairs, lifts, bathrooms and mechanical services stand freely in concentrated towers outside the mass of the building, created a highly expressive and legible structure. The servant spaces also made optimum use of the irregular site and offered a system in which the building could be changed to respond to needs over time within a controlled framework.  

Making optimum use of the site allowed for a high degree of flexibility and choice of alternative strategies during the design, construction and occupation of the building. Should the densely populated market expand, it is even possible to add on more service towers to provide for greater numbers of people.

RRP set up a joint operations room to accommodate the design team, contractors, consultants and the client representatives to work closely as a multidisciplinary team. Within this team, the project was broken down into definable sections, with an associate responsible for the development of each individual stage.

In defining a strategy and not a building, a legible system was developed that broadly allocated zones, defined movement and levels so that areas could change in an orderly basis without disrupting the business. The highly articulated service towers around the perimeter lend an immediate sense of order and hierarchy to the building’s appearance.