Lloyd’s Building in London


Lloyd’s building in London hosts one of the most established insurance firms across the globe. The building has both historical and economic significance in London. Richard Rogers took over the project and ensured its successful completion. It is also vital to note that the building was designed fifty years ago. Although it has lasted for quite a long period of time, Lloyd’s building still serves its purpose. In some cases, this gigantic tower has also been referred to as the Inside-Out Building (Cole and Rogers 131). The building is strategically positioned along Lime Street at the center of London city.

Source: Web.
Source: Web.

Design techniques

As already mentioned, Richard Rogers was the key architect who designed Lloyd’s building in London. After the design process was completed, the actual construction began in 1978. Before the close of 1986, the building had already been completed. Hence, it took about eight years to accomplish the construction work.

The scheme was managed and controlled by Bovis. It is vital to mention that the building was spectacularly designed in the most innovative and modern way fitted with water pipes, electrical power conduits, lifts, and staircases. Besides, a significant amount of uncluttered space was left in the interior of the building. It resembled Pompidou Center in several ways. It is worth mentioning that Rogers was a co-designer of the latter center. This explains why the two designs had several resembling features.

Although several modern buildings had installed lifts in the UK by the time this building was being constructed, the 12 lifts made of glass happened to be the initial architectural invention in the UK by that time. In other words, Lloyd’s building was the first structure to be built using glass lifts. This made the building stand out as a modern structure worth emulating (Cole and Rogers 130). It is also highly likely that the Archigram works that were dominant during the first two decades after the 1950s were used to influence the design of Lloyd’s building. There were several aspects that were borrowed from the Pompidou Centre located in the capital city of France.

There are two towers that have been designed in such a way that they occupy a rectangular space at the center of the tower. The Lutine Bell is also housed at this point (Rogers par.1).

The galleries overlook the Underwriting Room. The latter room is sixty meters tall and neatly decorated with glass roofing. The roof is in the form of a barrel that has been architecturally vaulted.

The atrium space gives a clear opening to the four galleries located at the entrance. In addition, visitors passing through the first 4 galleries can access the middle of the tower using escalators. However, to reach the top floors of the building, an individual has to use lifts positioned at the outside. The top floors are also made of glass materials that are considered to be relatively light.

The Committee room is housed on the 11th floor of Lloyd’s building. This room is quite phenomenal since it provides a glimpse into the historical past. It has been designed in the form of a museum. The 1763 impression of the 2nd Earl of Shelburne has been stationed in this room. This historic symbol was the artistic work of Robert Adam. The room is also taken as a dining gallery.

Before the new Lloyd’s building was constructed, the old one was standing at 12 Leadenhall Street. The old structure had been erected at this point way back in 1928. The construction of the new building was mainly necessitated by the need to expand due to increased operations that could not fit in the small old tower. Another expansion took place in 1978 because the building was becoming smaller in size due to activities that were taking place in it. Hence, it was against this backdrop that the third level of expansion was commissioned courtesy of the design drawn by Richard Rogers. The new building was eventually opened by the queen of England.

Although the old tower was brought down, the 12 Leadenhall Street entrance was not interfered with at all. It was left intact. Currently, this entrance is part and parcel of the new building since it forms an incongruous attachment to it. However, a new story tower called the Willis Building took over the place of the 1958 Lloyd’s building after it was demolished in 2004.

The modern Lloyd’s building has fourteen floors. It stands high at 88 meters. However, the height of the building has been pushed to 312 feet due to the presence of cranes used for cleaning purposes. When walls and partitions are removed or added, it is possible to change each floor. This is one of the most outstanding modular plans in this building.

In 2011, Lloyd’s building of London was Grade I listed after a request was made by The Twentieth Century Society way back in 2008. Moreover, a German Investment Bank sold the building to the Shelbourne Development Group. This is a real estate firm owned by Dublin.

Some architects have referred to this towering structure as a ‘mechanical cathedral’. This is perhaps due to the way it has been designed right from the entrance to the inner surfaces. The inclusion of glass linings and walls has also improved the overall complexity and aesthetic value of the building. Better still, Lloyd’s building stands out as one of the best state-of-the-art and heroic monuments that has transformed itself from a tiny structure into a memorable tower.

The post-modernist buildings that were constructed during the same time may not match closely with Lloyd’s building. There is an apparently sharp contrast between the modern buildings that were constructed at that time and Lloyd’s building. The immediate urban and historical significance of the building may not be noticed at first sight. However, the inside-out scheme brings out all the evidence. The building has been consecrated as a historical icon in both past and modern art. Needless to say, Lloyd’s building of London is a masterpiece of the art of the 20th century and also a valuable architectural setting of the postmodern era.

Building Concepts

The concept of the building embraced some form of unusual configuration. This concept has been attained by locating the building in a medieval street donned with irregular patterns. In addition, the architect’s philosophy was that the tower was supposed to be located on a “kit of parts”. This concept further exposes and fully displays the structural details of the building. Hence, the viewer has been offered a perfect chance on how to prop the structure. It is an architectural concept that can only be understood within the confines of architecture. These concepts were also vital in meeting the needs of the building.

The elevators that have been stationed on the outer side of the building are firm and appealing. Besides, the metal surfaces have been wrapped with polished surfaces that shine from a distance.

The lighting systems have been given key attention in the entire design of the building. For instance, there is an open space on most ceilings through which light from natural sources can penetrate the building. Moreover, the large garrisons are instrumental in providing additional light that is required in the inner and hidden rooms and floors. Air is also extracted from the outer regions of the building using large garrisons. The garrisons are strategically positioned on various points on the ceiling. The city’s landscape is also boosted with the electric-blue light and the glittering of the stainless steel that can be visualized across the streets.


One of the most valuable considerations made when designing the building was its flexibility. It is worth mentioning that the earlier Lloyd’s buildings were destroyed because they could not be flexible enough to meet the growing demand of the structure. The operations of the bag safe demanded safe and limited interruption. This could only be made possible by enhancing the level of flexibility so that futuristic demands could be met with much ease.

Hence, the shape of the new structure was largely informed by flexibility. A flexible space within the building would necessitate quick maintenance and repair services. All the renewable elements could be accommodated with little worry on space availability (Rogers par.2).

Adequate space

The outer side of the building was designed to reserve adequate space for machinery, cellars, bathrooms, stairs, and elevators. This concept was adopted for the sole purpose of creating additional space whenever there was the need to carry out repair and maintenance services in the main rooms. In addition, it made it possible to expand operations within the building.

Analysis of the building

From the above discussion, it is evident that a lot of glass materials were used to construct the building. As much as glass is quite an expensive building material, its choice is mainly based on the fact that it gives a cozy finish to a structure. Besides, it is long-lasting especially when taken care of carefully. However, glass blocks are more durable than thin sheets of glass. Some sections of Lloyd’s building were made using glass blocks. It could have been advisable if all the entire wall surfaces of the building were made using glass blocks. This building material has the following properties:

Aesthetic value and Versatility

Glass blocks are attractive and appealing when used as a building material. It is also available in various styles, colors, designs, and sizes. In other words, the use of glass blocks allows unlimited choice of choice for management contractors or architectures on site. As already mentioned, Lloyd’s building has several partitions made of wrapped in glass. Nonetheless, the partitions could be fortified using glass blocks of convenient sizes depending on the chosen design. On the same note, the rest of the walls of the building could be improved by glass block walls.

The architectural design of the building also adopted glass sheets and thin blocks of different colors. This type of glass technology in construction was also utilized in Lloyd’s building of London. There are other types of techniques that can be used to alter or improve the glass color experience. However, there are myriads of factors related to the environment that can tarnish the shiny effect and overall appearance of glass materials. This scenario is evident in Lloyd’s building whereby some glass surfaces especially on the outer walls have lost some shiny effect. Sunlight and humidity are two key environmental factors that can indeed erode the quality and aesthetic value of glass. In addition, when the sky and clouds are reflected on glass surfaces for a considerably long period, such surfaces are eventually tarnished.

Light Transmission and Visibility

Exceptional visibility is guaranteed when glass blocks are used on ceilings, windows, or walls. This is because light can be transmitted with much without any hindrance. Both transparent and translucent glass blocks can be used depending on the privacy required. This skill was utilized when designing the building. Glass blocks are also known to be resistant to scratchy surfaces. Better still, when transparent glass blocks are used, weathering, clouding, or yellowing effects cannot be experienced because over 70 percent of light can be transmitted in all directions.

Conservation of energy

If the building could be made with 80% of glass on main surfaces such as ceilings, walls, and other exteriors, then a lot of energy could be saved since glass conducts heat poorly. Glass is a good source of insulation especially when used as blocks or in the form of two combined layers. Needless to say, this immense building requires a lot of power supply and usage every single day. The bills incurred from utilizing electricity could be scaled down significantly if the thick glass is used. It is worth mentioning that the building consumes less energy by incorporating multiple glazing layers. Besides, Low-E coatings and special gases can also significantly reduce energy consumption in the building.

Noise Resistance

The fact the building accommodates myriads of activities is bound to be noisy. Therefore, it is necessary to devise various ways of reducing noise pollution within the building. As such, sealed glass panels were used on certain floors of the building. For instance, various rooms were portioned with sheets of glass with the aim of reducing the penetration of noise from one compartment to another. Nonetheless, sound can be perfectly insulated using sealed glass panes. Both the insulating and laminated sheets of glass can be used for this purpose. Although they were not vastly used in Lloyd’s building, these types of glass materials have a double-glazing effect that limits the transfer of sound waves from one point to another.

Moreover, a unique acoustic PVB interlayer is contained in laminated glass. This layer has the ability to absorb the incoming sound energy. As a result, the amount of sound that filtrates through this layer is remarkably minimal and cannot have any adverse effects on nearby users of the building. Nonetheless, if the building needs to attain enhanced insulation of sound, glass layers that are double glazed can be used. This type of glass material provides acoustic stability by insulating the incident sound energy using a vacuum-sealed layer filled with certain types of air.

The built environment depends on information obtained from climate data. Such information includes the construction procedures and designing buildings that are compatible with the climatic needs of the immediate environment. Some of the decisions that are often considered when gathering data on climate include the choice of air conditioning and ventilation as well as heating systems. In addition, appropriate building materials and landscaping tools such as planting various species of trees are also necessary when building structures in a built environment.

The historic trends and climatic projections should be borne in mind by modern professionals in architecture. This is attributed to the fact that climatic patterns have been known to vary or even change with the passage of time. As a matter of fact, the choice of building materials should be pegged on the expected duration of the structure being erected because significant changes in precipitation and temperature levels may grossly weaken the materials used for building to extent that such structures may not last for the expected period of time.

The Lloyd’s building in London is not an exception when considering changes in climatic patterns. Nonetheless, the most outstanding controversy emanates from overreliance on fossil fuels as a source of energy. It has been proven beyond any scientific doubt that fossil fuels are notoriously responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases. These emissions have altered the atmospheric composition of the planet earth leading to variation in weather and climate patterns. For example, CFCs and carbon dioxide are not merely toxic to the environment. They are also the main drivers of global warming because they trap both the solar and terrestrial radiations from being dissipated into the atmosphere. In any case, warmer earth will result in increased instances of precipitation and erratic temperature rise.

In spite of the looming threat both to the ecosystem and the built environment, there seems to be a lack of political goodwill to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Alternatively, other alternative sources of energy could be adopted to reduce the overall use of fossil fuels.

Resistance to bullet

Most postmodern architectural designs are incorporating security measures when constructing buildings. Fact that global security especially in main urban establishments such as London is not guaranteed, it is prudent to take keen security measures. As such, there are unique types of glass that can reduce or eliminate the effect of blasts and bullets. Such type of glass can hardly break. However, the projectile energy is duly absorbed, and consequently, individuals inside a building are protected against the impact. This is a valuable integration needed in Lloyd’s building of London due to security issues. This type of glass is made by several layers of polycarbonate that are strategically placed between sheets of normal glassy material. The end material is similar to glass but certainly thicker in width and resilient to heavy impacts.

Polished metal surfaces

The Lloyd’s building in London has been built using polished metal surfaces on several parts that were deemed to be necessary. There are quite a several metallic materials that can be used in such outstanding buildings. It is vital to mention that the built environment benefits a lot from metallic materials. For instance, metals are used to strengthened structures and also give an aesthetic look. Hence, the decorative features, trusses, and nails are just some of the functions of metals in construction.

The field of architecture has largely benefited from the use of copper metal. It is particularly applied in the interior design of most buildings due to its aesthetic value. Copper metal is instrumental in building expansion joints, cladding walls, vaulting, making spires, domes, downspouts, gutters, flashings, and roofs. In the case of Lloyd’s building in London, metallic finishes that were done using other types to improve the aesthetic appeal can be replaced with copper wires.

One of the reasons why copper wire is a desired architectural metal is due to its resistance to corrosion and rusting. There are myriads of environmental factors that may hasten the rates of rusting and corrosion. These include moisture, salt spray, and the active part of the air.

Copper is also durable and can be easily molded into various shapes. Hence, if this building was to be built today, then most of the finishing could have been done using polished copper metal.

Thermal comfort

The Lloyd’s building in London accommodates several commercial entities such as hotels where boarding and lodging take place. Therefore, it doubles up as a temporary residential place for holidaymakers and other visitors. It is against this backdrop that the thermal comfort of its occupants (whether during the day or night) is vital. When the new Lloyd’s building was completed, it did not fully incorporate the desired thermal comfort limits (Peeters 776).

When the thermal environment matches with the psychological condition, a temporary state of thermal comfort is attained. Assessment of occupants of Lloyd’s building can be used to determine whether thermal comfort is within the required level or not.

The Lloyd’s building in London should be installed thermo-regulators because when there is a sharp rise or fall in temperature, it may interfere with the functionality of the human cells. Such a scenario may lead to sudden loss of life. Hence, when metabolic heat is permitted to fritter away, a state of a heat balance between the human body and the immediate environment will be attained with much ease.

It is imperative to mention that satisfactory thermal comfort level is of great significance in Lloyd’s building in London. Needless to say, one of the most vital goals of installing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems is to maintain a comfortable state of thermal range. Since heat waves can travel through radiation, convection, and conduction, it is an extremely valuable methodology that can monitor or modify these heat transfer channels. Using thick glass blocks is of immense significance as already mentioned limits (Peeters 776).

The knowledge on thermal comfort also lowers the likelihood of contracting the sick building syndrome. The syndrome often entails several ailments that may affect the residents of a building due to high temperature and relative humidity. In addition, thermal comfort is vital in depicting whether the available air quality is recommendable or not.

Therefore, the building should have been fitted with a passive solar system that can regulate the temperature within the building. Moreover, Lloyd’s building is located in a composite climate region. Therefore, a passive solar system that offers ventilation, heating, and cooling deepening with the season should be installed in such a multipurpose building. Some of the systems include Barra–Costantini, Silvestrini, earth-air tunnel, and the Bell Sky-Therm.

Hence, it is necessary to maintain a temperature equilibrium that is comfortable enough for occupants in Lloyd’s building. Nonetheless, the ability to regulate thermal comfort requires knowledge on the effect of thermal comfort as well as how these factors can be controlled.


To recap it all, it is vital to reiterate that Lloyd’s building has remained as both a historical and economical epicenter at the heart of London. The two previous versions of the building had to be demolished consecutively in order to pave way for a spacious structure. Besides, the building hosts one of the largest insurance firms globally.

Richard Rogers was the key designer of the building having designed other similar but less complex buildings. The Lloyd’s building is multipurpose since it accommodates several commercial entities under it. This towering building has also been known as the Inside-Out Building.

From the above discussion and analysis, it is without a doubt that Lloyd’s building is a complex masterpiece of architecture in this postmodern era. The glass walls and ceilings as well as the polished metal surfaces provide the much-needed aesthetic value and appeal to the building. Besides, it has adequate space that can allow uninterrupted repair and maintenance works. Nonetheless, there are quite a several modifications that can be incorporated in this building particularly if it were to be constructed in this postmodern era. For instance, installing security systems or using building materials that are blast and bullet resistant is highly welcome.


Cole, Barbie and Ruth Rogers. Architectural Monographs. London: Academy Editions, 1985.Print.

Peeters, Lewerd. Thermal comfort in residential buildings: comfort values and scales for building energy simulation. Applied Energy 85.6(2009): 772-780. Print.

Rogers, Richard. Lloyd’s of London. 2006. Web.

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