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19 Oct 2021 Erin
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Riddel Hall, Brick Matching and The Art of Conservation

Here at Brick and Stone, we come across many different types of build, from brand spanking new to projects focused on restoring the old to tip-top condition. One such project was the refurbishment of Riddel Hall at Queen's University Belfast.

Riddel Hall was founded in 1913 as accommodation for the female students of Queens University by Eliza and Isabelle Riddel. They didn’t have the chance for education themselves, so instead donated a considerable and generous amount of money for the building and the education of women. Nowadays, it is the home of the management school, one of the top business schools in the UK and Ireland, along with other necessary departments within the university. In 2010 a proposal was announced for the regeneration of this build, creating a larger space to enhance Riddel Hall and contribute to the ongoing success of the management school.

Brick matching can be a challenging & tedious process, but when done correctly will make all the difference to your project. Mismatched bricks can stand out like a sore thumb, and when working on a building with as much significance as Riddle Hall, attention to detail is of the utmost importance.

With historic buildings like Riddel Hall, it is impossible to use the exact same brick when refurbishing- the chances of it being sold today are slim to none, as the factories that had previously made these bricks no longer exist, hence why accurate brick matching is essential for a restoration project like this to be a success.

It would be ideal to use reclaimed bricks for a listed building such as Riddel Hall. There are a few suppliers of reclaimed bricks across the UK who have sourced bricks from demolished buildings and other masonry projects, ensuring the bricks have aged naturally. However, the chance of you finding the same brick used on the original property is still slim. In this case, we could not find any suitable reclaimed bricks for the project and therefore went down the route of attempting to match the brick to a product that has been created to replicate the look of reclaimed bricks.

Colour, size and texture all come into the equation when matching bricks, and each factor is as equally important as the other. When it comes to colour, getting the blend right is essential. The percentage of the blend and the arrangement all need to be exact. Initially built in 1913, Riddel Hall used smooth red clay bricks, a look that became synonymous to inner-city Belfast. Once we knew what brick to look for, we began our search for the perfect match. Taking into consideration all the qualities mentioned above, we found the Old Victorian Pressed by Furness. This brick had everything we needed, from the perfect colour match to a texture that blended in perfectly to the rest of the build, ensuring that the look and feel of the build were restored and the build looked just as good as it did in 1913.

For this project, we sourced high-quality materials, immaculately crafted to reflect the original craftsmanship of Riddel Hall. The perfect match meant the building looked completely uniform. Restoration and conservation are areas in which the team at Brick and Stone love to be a part of. This passion has lead us on searches far and wide to find the perfect range of curated products, such as The Artisan, Millhouse, Reclamation Orange and many more, that can be used to restore old buildings and replicate the look of inner-city Belfast.

We pride ourselves on the work we did for the Riddle Hall Project. The brick matching process required a level of expertise and patience that was well worth the result!

19 Oct 2021 Erin
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