In 2017, the Estates Directorate at Queen’s University Belfast commenced the conservation and restoration of its Grade-A Listed Lanyon Building; designed in 1845 by eminent architect, Charles Lanyon.
The Estates Directorate wanted to restore the building to its former splendour whilst retaining the patina of age and as much of the original fabric as possible. The restoration required the replacement of some eroded stonework, replacement and repointing of brickwork, the refurbishment and replacement of windows and replacement of inadequate rainwater goods.
All of the restoration work required specialist skills. Skilled stone masons repaired stonework and were encouraged to use their imagination in replacing eroded gargoyles with their own creations. The windows required a great deal of research, with this type of window not having been made for at least one hundred years; however an 85 year old former foundry worker was located who remembered the formula required to repair the window heads from his apprentice years.
Throughout the restoration, education opportunities were offered to students, the general public and professionals through talks and scaffolding tours. The building remained open to students and visitors throughout the restoration, with additional information provided through hoardings which told the history of the building from its construction in 1845 to the present day.
The result of the restoration and conservation project, through the enthusiasm, skill and dedication of the team, has been to safeguard the iconic building for the future; as well as to conserve skills and methods which may otherwise have been lost. This project will not only benefit the building but will serve as a fantastic case study for future conservation projects.