In the 70 years following the completion of Collcutt’s building in 1901, Lloyd’s Register acquired six adjacent office blocks to accommodate its growing business. But by the early 1990s, it was clear the jumble of buildings would not suit the business world of the new millennium.
A radical review
Lloyd’s Register considered relocating its London office (then its headquarters) to new purpose-built offices in Hampshire. Instead, it was decided to redevelop the site in Fenchurch Street to provide an energy-saving, efficient, high quality working space which preserved and enhanced the Collcutt building.
An oasis within
The first step was to establish how much of the site could be redeveloped. Two of the buildings owned by Lloyd’s Register were protected under planning law; Collcutt’s building is a Grade II* listed building and the façade of Coronation House lies within a conservation area. Additionally, Lloyd’s Register was only granted permission to demolish a rear wing of 68-70 Fenchurch Street. Two buildings, Magpie House and Haddon House, were demolished entirely together with the structure behind the façade of Coronation House. This demolition work provided the site for the new building. The retained buildings reduced the aspect and access to the site but provided a protective ‘rind’ to create a quiet oasis for the new building.
In the 1890s, Lloyd’s Register had employed one of the finest architects of the period, Thomas Edward Collcutt, to create the original No. 71. The organisation continued this tradition 100 years later by commissioning the Richard Rogers Partnership, now Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, one the world’s most famous and respected architectural firms.
The glass and steel towers
The modern structure of glass, steel and concrete soars from the ground. Like Collcutt’s original, the building is a product of its time. In typical style of the practice, it wears its components on the outside. The main lifts and stairs are on view at the front, behind full-height glazing. Inside, the building’s structure of concrete and steel is also on display. The result is a building of detail and complexity without the use of ornamentation. The energy-saving concepts used also influenced the building’s design and appearance.
The architects started on the brief in 1995 and work on site began in 1996. The building was completed in 2000 and opened by Her Majesty the Queen in November of that year. Today, it still attracts much attention from visitors to London.
The building was designed to make the best use of the space available with minimum impact on Collcutt’s building and the surrounding streets. From Lloyd’s Avenue in the east, the building is hardly visible. Starting at the roof height of Coronation House, the building rises to two towers of 12 and 14 storeys in the middle of the site. On the west side, the development has six storeys, helping it to blend in with the other buildings on Fenchurch Place and be a sympathetic neighbour to Fenchurch Street Station. The towers and two flanking sections are linked by office floorspace and dramatic glazed atria that bring daylight and space into the heart of the building.
The building has won, or been shortlisted for, a number of notable awards including:
- RIBA award Stirling shortlist 2002
- World Architecture Award for Best Commercial Building in the World 2002
- Civic Trust Award 2002
- Aluminium Imagination Awards Commendation 2001
- Concrete Society Certificate of Excellence ‘Building Category’ 2000.
To find out more visit the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners website and the Lloyd's Register Foundation website or download our brochure, LR in London.