The Lloyds building in the City of London. A joiner created by Mark Murfitt © 2012 . All rights reserved.

Lloyds building, London

I just love the Lloyds building in the City of London. It breaks all the rules of architecture, and is one of the best buildings to simply stand and stare at, just because it’s so darn interesting. It’s been referred to as the ‘inside out’ building, what with all pipes, ducting etc on the outside rather than being hidden away under floors and behind walls, and I guess that’s the main reason it’s so iconic.

The building was designed by Sir Norman Foster (who wasn’t a Sir when he submitted the design). Sir Norman Foster has to be one of the worlds most accomplished architects, and arguably one of the most successful, which makes the story I heard all the more interstesting; (I’m not completely sure whether it’s an urban myth or not) but at the time when the drawings were submitted for the building, life had got so tough for Sir Norman Foster, and his firm, that they drove taxi’s in the evenings to make ends meet. The drawings for the Lloyds building was a last ditch attempt to keep their company afloat and had the design not been accepted the company would have folded…and we’d have been deprived some of the worlds most beautiful and impressive buildings.

It’s just a great, great building!
You can’t see from this perspective on the joiner but the building makes use of glass elevators, which I’m sure was the first time they were seen in London.
Many years ago, when I worked in and around London, I would drive past the Lloyds building, see the lifts, and long to have a go in them (I really can’t say way, I’m just weird like that). One day my wish came true and I had the chance to use them…the only thing is, once on the inside they’re very scary (I’m afraid of grounds you see – it’s not heights but grounds that kill you) so much so that I spent the whole time looking at the elevator doors, not daring to see the ground drop away below me or take in the unique view of The City..

A quirky aspect of the building is the chaps in formal attire at the front door (red coat – top hat and tales) whose job it is to open taxi doors as well as the main doors for visitors..which is a little strange as this ‘service’ is normally reserved for posh hotels..
On the inside of the building it’s all kind of hollow, there are escalators criss-crossing the space, with open plan offices around the outside. There are ‘closed’ offices, but they don’t appear till something like the seventh floor.

They have a strange way of doing business inside..firstly, the Lloyds building houses numerous insurance companies and underwriters, something which I’m sure you were aware of. Each underwriting and insurance firm has a small amount of open plan office space alocated to them, they’re not allowed to change it or bring in their own desks, they basically use what’s there, and should one underwriter wish to speak to another, they go wait by the other firms desks for an opening to speak..it’s all a little strange, and for a building so modern and daring, wrapped up in tradition.

This Lloyds building joiner was a nightmare to photograph, the streets of The City of London are so small and twisty I just couldn’t get far enough back to get the right composition, which meant I ended up closer than I would have liked, hence the dis-jointed look to this particular joiner.

When I first put this joiner together I really wasn’t keen on it (so much so I very nearly deleted it there and then), and you might not like it all that much either, but the longer I’ve looked at it, the more convinced I’ve become that the way this joiner has turned out is completely fitting and in keeping with the style of the building itself, it’s an unusual joiner for an unsual building..

Viewing Instructions:

To view this joiner at it’s best, do the following
– Plug in headphones
– Hit the play button on the audio player below
– On the zoom.it window below click the icon in the bottom right hand corner (a square with a diagonal line through it)
– Sit back and enjoy the joiner as it was meant to be enjoyed!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Picture particulars:

Dimensions: 3.75m wide by 4.73m high (12.5ft x 15.75ft)

Photos used: 32

Song inspiration: Blur – Girls and Boys

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