Lloyd's of London
Work on the substructure began in June 1981, heralding the beginning of a sixty-month construction programme. Even with additions to the brief, including a considerable amount of extra servicing to cope with the emergence of the electronic revolution, the building was completed with a month to spare in 1986.
The main floor system is predominantly an in-situ concrete raft, supported on beams spanning between the atrium and the façade columns, while the service towers are of pre-cast concrete elements. The great columns, both on the exterior and within the atrium, stand proud of the cladding, increasing the highly articulated vertical quality of the building. External cross braces of steel tube are concrete cased for fire safety and help to maintain an appearance of a spare and elegant slenderness.
The quality of the interior is in contrast with the predominantly light-weight appearance of the steel and glass facade, however the apparent weightiness is counter-balanced by the airy verticality that terminates in the lightness of the glazed atrium roof which sits on the main atrium columns.
The service towers, three of them principally for fire fighting and escape and the other three for lifts, lavatories and risers, provide access and escape routes by means of lifts and staircases. Plant Rooms are housed on top of four of the six towers, expressed as massive steel boxes. All of the towers are finally capped by blue-painted service cranes to allow maintenance and easy replacement of building parts.
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.
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