English Heritage will recommend Rogers’ building ’the day it turns 30’
Richard Rogers’ seminal Lloyd’s Building is set to be listed next year at a “very high grade” to mark the 30th anniversary of its start on site, English Heritage has revealed.
Roger Bowdler, head of listing at EH, will recommend it for listing next summer and said he could not rule out grade I status. “We could not list it before it was 30, unless it had actually been at risk, and we will be recommending it for listing the day it turns 30,” he said. “It will be at a very high grade – that is certain.”
The building celebrates two birthdays next year: the 30th anniversary of work commencing is in early June; and the 25th anniversary of its completion is in November. Rogers and Lloyd’s of London are already planning celebrations around the latter, and a Lloyd’s spokeswoman welcomed news of its probable listing.
Catherine Croft, director of the 20th Century Society, also praised the decision. The society first recommended the Lloyd’s Building for listing in 2008, but it was not backed by EH and was turned down by the then architecture minister Margaret Hodge on the grounds that it was too recent, and not in imminent danger of demolition. But Croft raised concerns about the “30-year rule” saying key buildings could easily be ruined by a “series of smaller alterations”.
In the case of Lloyd’s, she pointed out that there have already been a series of “small-scale but significant” changes to its lobby and foyer. “It is a classic case of a building which needs to have management guidelines,” she said. “It is an extraordinary and fluent example of hi-tech style, built on an incredibly sensitive site, and to a very high spec.”
The Lloyd’s listing will be a one-off, but EH is also preparing to unveil a series of listings programmes for 2011, when it publishes its National Heritage Protection plan next week. This will contain suggestions for more “thematic work”, including programmes to list civic buildings, industrial heritage sites and – most urgently – military sites.
Bowdler said that EH had concerns over the Ministry of Defence’s policy of selling off out-of-commission sites for redevelopment, and was keen to list everything from aerodromes to barracks to protect them from the bulldozer.