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Lloyd’s rings Lutine Bell to honour pioneering architect Richard Rogers

20 Dec 2021

We are extremely saddened by the passing of Lord Rogers, whose immense vision and skill created the iconic Grade I listed Lloyd’s Building

Richard Rogers, the architect of our iconic home on Lime Street, passed away aged 88 on Saturday 18 December 2021. As a mark of our respect for his life and achievements, a remembrance service was held on the Underwriting Floor and the Lutine Bell rung once in his memory.

The ceremony was attended by Richard’s wife, children, friends, partners and colleagues at Rogers, Stirk and Harbour, as well as Lloyd’s Chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown who paid tribute to the architect in a short speech.

“He will be remembered as the man who challenged the norm, as the best innovators do; who divided opinion, as the best artists do; and who inspired others, as the best leaders do. And today – as we stand in his iconic space – we pay our respects to the pioneer behind the plans.”
Bruce Carnegie-Brown

The Lloyd’s building was one of Richard’s most cherished projects. Opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1986, the structure took eight years to build. In 2011, it became the youngest building to earn Grade I listed heritage status.

In the years since its creation, it has continued to host royalty, presidents, prime ministers, mayors, visitors, passers-by and the thousands of Lloyd’s underwriters, brokers, risk professionals and Corporation staff who have called it home for 35 years.

Richard spent time with the Lloyd’s market while working on its design, in order to create a space which could accommodate the demands of face to face trading.

Reflecting on his creation in 2013, Richard said:

“Lloyd’s is the most famous insurance business in the world. To build Lloyd’s, it was the absolute ultimate in the art of technology. The building is almost handmade practically. It was a risky building to do at the time, which is why it is great.”
Richard Rogers

Now surrounded by taller structures – some also designed by Richard Rogers – the Lloyd’s building dominated the city skyline for over a decade and further cemented London’s place as the beating heart of the global insurance industry.

Lord Rogers was known around the world as one of the greatest visionaries of his generation, with an array of stunning structures including the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Millennium Dome and the Leadenhall Building. During his career, Richard received the Pritzker Architecture Prize, architecture’s highest honour, a Royal Gold Medal, the American Institute of Architect's Gold Medal and the Praemium Imperiale for Architecture.

Watch a video of Lloyd’s ringing the Lutine Bell to honour Lord Richard Rogers.

My name is Bruce Carnegie-Brown, and it’s my privilege to be the Chairman of Lloyd’s and therefore to preside over this wonderful building.

I’m thrilled so many of you could be here at such short notice – with his family, colleagues and some of us from the Lloyd’s market, who live every day with his creation. Though we stand in the middle of an eerily quiet Square Mile today, this building has been at the centre of the action for over three decades – serving many functions since its completion in 1986. A bustling hub for London’s financial district.  A beating heart for the Lloyd’s market and wider insurance sector. A brave harbinger for Britain’s position on the world stage.

We’re very grateful to have made it our home. But most of all, today we’re grateful for the architect who made it possible. Every design carries some trace of its designer – and Richard’s ideas, values and vision are eminently visible in the building we see today.  Indeed, I was delighted to meet his co-partner in this project, Mike – one of the original founders of the partnership – who is here with us today. And I was reminded by Jo Scott, our own Head of Communications, that her father was a junior architect in the Rogers office and worked on the design of this building all those years ago. I wanted to highlight just three of those features, which I believe point to the principles embodied by Richard and strived towards by our organisation.

The first is transparency. 

One Lime Street has won a raft of awards for its iconic, ‘inside out’ design. It was Richard’s second breakthrough following the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and a precursor to the many bold projects that followed: from the Welsh Parliament to the Millennium Dome. And in 2011, it became the youngest structure to earn Grade 1 listed status. Much celebrated by architects; something of a burden to those responsible for maintaining it! The unique design embodied Richard’s belief that ‘buildings should express their structure’; but also perhaps his belief that businesses should be transparent and serve the societies around them. That’s certainly something we try to keep in mind today as our market grows and develops. That we shouldn’t shut ourselves off behind impenetrable walls, but attempt to show our working and play a part in the communities around us. 

Secondly, Richard’s design is all about versatility.

Any site that can host multiple Royal Visits while featuring as a set for the 2013 Marvel film, Guardians of the Galaxy, demonstrates a far-sightedness few of us can claim to possess. We’ll shortly be ringing the 18th Century Lutine Bell, which has marked the passing of figures from George VI to Winston Churchill. But the mahogany underwriting boxes, the Loss Book that has recorded ship losses for 300 years, the original archway from our 1928 building – all invite us to remember our past. Meanwhile, the building’s futuristic exterior and spacious atrium compel us to look to our future. That principle underpinned Richard’s work, and at Lloyd’s we remember it every day as we take our seats in this place that so masterfully blends old and new.

Finally, this space represents fun.

Anyone who has flown up its 12 floors in a transparent lift – not to mention visited a bathroom on the exterior of the building – has to acknowledge the fun that is built into this structure. We know Richard was a lover of colour, both in his constructions and his wardrobe – so we can only assume the insurers won the debate over this building’s colour palette – but many of his other works reflect that joy. Over the years I’ve taken great pride in showing people round the building, and it serves as a reminder that work can be a place of fulfilment and enjoyment, not just productivity.

So today we pay tribute to Richard for building those principles – transparency, versatility and fun – into the DNA of our market. One Lime Street continues to be more than just a building; it is a home. Not just for us, but for the 5,000 daily visitors that were coming through its doors prior to the pandemic: brokers, underwriters, history fanatics, schoolchildren, friends and relatives. We look forward to the return of that buzz, for which the building was so evidently designed. But in the meantime, we thank Richard for his vision and his values.

He will be remembered as the man who challenged the norm, as the best innovators do; who divided opinion, as the best artists do; and who inspired others, as the best leaders do. And today – as we stand in his iconic space – we pay our respects to the pioneer behind the plans.