In a letter to the heritage body dated 14 January, C20 accused Lloyd’s of failing to react fast enough to ‘increasing pressures’ brought about by ‘security requirements, changing City trading patterns, and the requirements of new tenants’.
The letter goes on to say that C20 was ‘aware of significant issues’ that it claimed were ‘likely to give rise to proposals that would be detrimental to the historic integrity’ of the building.
The AJ understands that those ‘significant issues’ include plans to replace the Rosewood panels of the offices in the upper floors and the creation of a new entrance that would allow disabled access.
EH said it will assign a case officer to report to the government about a potential listing.
If the building is Grade I-listed, then listed-building consent will have to be obtained from EH before any alterations can take place.
Richard Rogers declined to comment, but a source close to him said the architect welcomed the letter and ‘felt the timber ambience was critical and should not be replaced’.
Flacq director, Marcus Lee, who worked with Rogers as site architect on the building, also welcomed C20’s move. However, he added that it was ‘ironic’ that a Rogers building should be listed.
‘His buildings are by nature flexible and designed for change,’ said Lee. ‘To list it is philosophically wrong as it will impose constraints on change.’
The call to list follows discussions in October 2006 between the building’s management team and C20, during which it was agreed to delay an application to list on the understanding that a management document would be drawn up to ensure planned alterations didn’t irreparably damage it.
But in the letter, C20 case officer, Eva Branscombe, said: ‘Had such a document been concluded and agreed by all interested parties, then the urgent need to list to secure the long-term future of the building would have been avoided.’
C20 director Catherine Croft, said it was ‘inevitable’ that Culture Secretary Margaret Hodge would approve Grade I-listing and said she expected the process to take up to six months.
If granted Grade-I status, the Lloyd’s Building will join a select group of Modern Grade I-listed buildings – among them the Royal Festival Hall and Norman Foster’s Willis Building in Ipswich.