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The Bank Buildings is a Grade B1-listed five-storey building in the Northern Irish capital. A jewel of Belfast, the building was designed by architect W.H. Lynn, and opened in 1900.

With pillars of polished red granite flanking large windows on the main façade and a huge iron clock face, the Bank Buildings is an important piece of architectural history.

The building has survived two fires in recent years – the last and most devastating one in 2018 destroyed the entire timber construction and practically the entire supporting structure.

The fire was an important reminder that historic buildings are more than just a landmark or the legacy of an architectural era – they are an important part of the city’s history and its continuing evolution. After the initial impulse to simply demolish the charred structure, a reconstruction began based on the original building.

Each removed stone was numbered, and natural stone and marble for the new facade was sourced from the same quarries in Finland, Scotland and Portugal that had supplied the original materials in the 19th century.

IMC Glass supplied a total of 300 units from its Slim-Glaze range to replace the single-glazed windows from the 3rd floor upwards, which were also manufactured according to the historical model and installed in 1980.

The reconstruction included the use of Edgetech’s Super Spacer® Heritage spacer, a flexible warm edge spacer bar that was specially developed for double glazing in the restoration sector.

With a height of just 3mm, it can be installed in frames with very low glass inserts without being visible. Super Spacer® dramatically improved the thermal efficiency of the building, ensuring its preparedness for a more carbon-conscious future. Crucially, however, the Super Spacer® Heritage spacer bar also allowed the building to maintain its historic slim sightlines.

A resounding success, the restoration project combined historical integrity with technological innovation, and the restored Bank Buildings are once more a welcome sight in the city of Belfast.

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