Richard Rogers, one of Britain's most famous architects and architectural stars planned and designed Lloyd's Building. The style was rightfully named the "Inside Out Architecture", because he took out all the systems that generally lie inside a building – pipes, ventilation ducts, air conditioning systems, power cables, elevators and more.
The debate over what made it one of the most important modern buildings in the world is related to the fact that the building, designed for the Lloyds insurance company in the 1980's, is the London equivalent and ultra-modern version of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Richard Rogers was a partner in the design of the Pompidou Center as well. This masterpiece of the high-tech style of architecture is followed through the in the Lloyds Building.
There are those who consider the building a masterpiece of high-tech architecture. Others criticize the building’s style saying it reminds one of an oil refinery befalling London. The argument is that the architect forced his ideals and ideas of innovative design on the residents, and didn’t take their basic needs as tenants into account.
The supporters on the other hand, emphasize the advantage of removing the innards, enabling for a large, open interior space once the systems were removed.
Either way, the famous exterior staircases and its strikingly exposed design, despite their stunning visual effect, makes the Lloyds building a difficult and expensive building to maintain. It requires constant (and expensive) maintenance.
Despite its misgivings, this building is easily one of the most architecturally prominent in London. Before the construction of the Gherkin (the "cucumber" building) also located in London, Lloyds was the symbol of modern construction in the rich business district of London. It provoked debates on beauty and perverseness. One thing is certain; this building is not to be overlooked.