54 Lombard Street was originally designed as a headquarter building for Barclays bank. It replaced the old headquarters building on this site in Lombard Street and it was necessary for the bank to move out for the duration of the building contract. A few years after Barclays moved back into the new 54 Lombard Street they made the decision to transfer their headquarters to Canary Wharf.
At the time the building was designed in the mid 1980ies there was a fairly strict approach to control of building height in the City and the Lombard Street building matched the height of a building opposite which had been build before the restrictions were introduced. This building was subsequently demolished. The new building was designed to reflect the classical detailing of buildings adjoining, but in an original 20th century way, while above the four storey podium levels, the external detailing took on a more unique and expressive form.
The massing of the building was developed to tie in with the scale of the various adjoining streets and buildings and is based on three vertical tower elements interpenetrating a more unified podium. The podium levels were later re-cased to allow the introduction of major retail units at street level. This re-casing removed many of the original podium features in a new design that owed more to the Modern Movement.