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Lloyd's building denied listed status

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Richard Rogers’ Lloyd’s building in the City of London will not be listed, the AJ can reveal

Culture secretary Barbara Follett has decided not to list the iconic 1986 landmark, home of insurance institution Lloyd’s of London, claiming it was neither old enough nor sufficiently under threat to warrant heritage protection.

The news has ‘shocked’ the Twentieth Century Society (C20), which called for the ‘inside-out’ office block to be urgently Grade I-listed last January.

The society was worried that a series of proposed alterations, including plans to replace the rosewood panels in the upper offices, would be ‘detrimental to the [building’s] historic integrity’.

C20 director Catherine Croft said: ‘It is hard to think of a building of that date that is more architecturally significant.

‘There is a real danger, in the current economic climate, that the owners will come under pressure from tenants wanting to impose their own corporate identity on the building and make [irreversible] changes rapidly without thinking of the bigger picture.’

Under the current listing criteria, buildings less than 30 years old must be shown to be at risk before they can be given heritage status. But Croft argued: ‘We feel that there are key features that are going to be changed… a building can be substantially compromised by a slow accretion of minor alterations.’

Follett’s decision was based on recommendations from English Heritage (EH) to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport not to list the ‘seminal’ building, even though in its report it argued the 88m-tall block ‘possessed outstanding architectural merit’ and exemplified the high tech style (the advice report is attached, right).

EH dismissed the C20’s fears that the building was under threat. A spokeswoman said: ‘[The] building is carefully looked after by its owners and tenants, who are very much alive to the building’s architectural significance. The building is owned freehold by a German institution which leases the building to Lloyd’s, and prevents material changes to the building without its consent.’

The heritage organisation went on to say that it had ‘no doubts’ the building would be listed when it ‘came of age’ in 2011 – 30 years from when work on the building first began.

The spokeswoman added: ‘We are committed to its listing and we do care about it. It hits all the listing criteria ten times over.’

Rogers’ practice was unavailable for comment.

  • Slideshow of Richard Rogers projects from Flickr
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