The Lloyd's building (sometimes known as the Inside-Out Building)[3] is the home of the insurance institution Lloyd's of London. It is located on the former site of East India House in Lime Street, in London's main financial district, the City of London. The building is a leading example of radical Bowellism architecture in which the services for the building, such as ducts and lifts, are located on the exterior to maximise space in the interior.

Lloyd's building
Lloyd's building in 2011, with the preserved entrance from the 1928 building visible on the right.
General information
TypeOffice building
Architectural styleHi-Tech Architecture
LocationLime Street, London
Coordinates51°30′47″N 0°04′56.5″W / 51.51306°N 0.082361°W / 51.51306; -0.082361
Construction started1978; 46 years ago (1978)
Completed1986; 38 years ago (1986)
Cost£75 million
OwnerPing An Insurance[1]
Antenna spire95.1 m (312 ft)
Roof88 m (289 ft)
Technical details
Floor count14
Lifts/elevators14 (12 external, 2 internal)
Design and construction
Architecture firmRichard Rogers & Partners
Project Architects:[2]
Richard Rogers
Graham Stirk
Ivan Harbour
Chris Wilkinson
John McAslan
Peter St John
Structural engineerArup
Peter Rice
Services engineerArup
Main contractorBovis
DesignationsGrade I listed

In 2011, twenty-five years after its completion in 1986 the building received Grade I listing; at this time it was the youngest structure ever to obtain this status. It is said by Historic England to be "universally recognised as one of the key buildings of the modern epoch".[4] Its innovation of having key service pipes and other components routed outside the walls has led to very expensive maintenance costs due to their exposure to the elements.



The first Lloyd's building (address 12 Leadenhall Street) had been built on this site in 1928 to the design of Sir Edwin Cooper.[5] In 1958, due to expansion of the market, a new building was constructed across the road at 51 Lime Street (now the site of the Willis Building). Lloyd's now occupied the Heysham Building and the Cooper Building.

By the 1970s Lloyd's had again outgrown these two buildings and proposed to extend the Cooper Building. In 1978, the corporation ran an architectural competition which attracted designs from practices such as Foster Associates, Arup and Ioeh Ming Pei.[6] Lloyd's commissioned Richard Rogers to redevelop the site, and the original 1928 building on the western corner of Lime and Leadenhall Streets was demolished to make way for the present one, which was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 18 November 1986. The 1928 building's 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 26-storey Willis Building.


Inside the Lloyd's building

The current Lloyd's building (address 1 Lime Street) was designed by the architect company Richard Rogers & Partners and built between 1978 and 1986. Bovis was the management contractor.[7] Like the Pompidou Centre in Paris (designed by Renzo Piano and Rogers), the building was innovative in having its services such as staircases, lifts, ductwork, electrical power conduits and water pipes on the outside, leaving an uncluttered space inside. The 12 glass lifts were the first of their kind in the United Kingdom. Like the Pompidou Centre, the building was highly influenced by the work of Archigram in the 1950s and 1960s.

The building consists of three main towers and three service towers around a central, rectangular space. Its core is the large Underwriting Room on the ground floor, which houses the Lutine Bell within the Rostrum. Also on the first floor is the loss book which for 300 years has had entries of significant losses entered by quill.[8] The Underwriting Room (often simply called "the Room") is overlooked by galleries, forming a 60 metres (197 ft) 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 exterior lifts.

The 11th floor houses the Committee Room (also known as the Adam Room), an 18th-century dining room designed for the 2nd Earl of Shelburne by Robert Adam in 1763; it was transferred piece by piece from the previous (1958) Lloyd's building across the road at 51 Lime Street.

The Lloyd's building is 88 metres (289 ft) to the roof, with 14 floors.[9] On top of each service core stand the cleaning cranes, increasing the overall height to 95.10 metres (312 ft). Modular in plan, each floor can be altered by addition or removal of partitions and walls. In 2008 the Twentieth Century Society called for the building to be Grade I listed[10] and in 2011 it was granted this status.[11][12]

The building was previously owned by Dublin based real estate firm Shelbourne Development Group, who purchased it in 2004 from a German investment bank.[13] In July 2013 it was sold to the Chinese company Ping An Insurance in a £260 million deal.[14]

Simplified plan and rotating 3D model (to see rotation model view the image at its direct link)

The much-vaunted design innovation of having the service pipes, ducts, and stairwells outside the walls led to such costs caused by weathering and maintenance that Lloyds considered vacating the building in 2014. Lloyd's former chief executive Richard Ward stated: "There is a fundamental problem with this building. Everything is exposed to the elements, and that makes it very costly."[15]

Images inside and outside of the Lloyd's building

See also



  1. ^ "中国平安24亿元购英国劳埃德大厦_财经_腾讯网". (in Chinese (China)). Retrieved 16 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Lloyd's Building". Architects Journal. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  3. ^ Lloyd's of London Homepage Archived 24 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine. Page accessed 20 May 2010.
  4. ^ Waite, Richard (19 December 2011). "Rogers' Lloyd's becomes youngest Grade-I listed building". Architects' Journal. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  5. ^ "1922 – Old Lloyd's Building, Leadenhall Street". 19 June 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  6. ^ "English Heritage Listing Information" (PDF). English Heritage. 19 December 2011. p. 2. Retrieved 6 February 2013.
  7. ^ Richard Rogers Partnership Archived 6 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ Moynihan, Shawn (6 October 2016). "Here's what Lloyd's of London looks like on the inside". Property Casualty 360. ALM Media. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  9. ^ Skyscrapernews
  10. ^ Thompson, Max (24 January 2008). "Call for 'urgent' Grade-I listing of Lloyd's building". Architects' Journal. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  11. ^ Lloyd's Building Gets Grade I Listed Status
  12. ^ Waite, Richard (19 December 2011). "Rogers' Lloyd's becomes youngest Grade-I listed building". Architects' Journal. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Lloyd's Tower Purchased". The New York Times. 10 January 2004. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  14. ^ "Lloyd's building sold to Chinese insurance group in £260m deal". The Guardian. London. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Lloyd's of London may quit Rogers building over design "frustrations"". June 2014.