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Like the Pompidou Centre in Paris (designed by Renzo Piano and Rogers), the building was innovative in having its services such as staircases, lifts, ductwork, electrical power conduits and water pipes on the outside, leaving an uncluttered space inside. The 12 glass lifts were the first of their kind in the United Kingdom. Like the Pompidou Centre, the building was highly influenced by the work of Archigram in the 1950s and 1960s.
The building consists of three main towers and three service towers around a central, rectangular space. Its core is the large Underwriting Room on the ground floor, which houses the Lutine Bell within the Rostrum. Also on the first floor is loss book which for 300 years has had entries of significant losses entered by quill.
The Underwriting Room (often simply called “the Room”) is overlooked by galleries, forming a 60 metres (197 ft) high atrium lit naturally through a huge barrel-vaulted glass roof. The first four galleries open onto the atrium space, and are connected by escalators through the middle of the structure. The higher floors are glassed in and can only be reached via the exterior lifts.