Ketley's Staffordshire clay quarry tiles were used in the renovation of the Barbican Centre's podium area, which began in late 2013. The existing old Hawkings Brown Brindle, smooth-faced quarry tiles were to be replaced, as were the waffle tiles along the walkway sections, which had a square relief pattern. One of the problems with these waffle tiles was that water gathered in the grooves and moisture was transferred when they were walked upon. They were also prone to failure and they detracted from the appearance of the tiled area.
The challenge was to produce a tile with at least the slip resistance of the waffle tile but in a smooth-faced finish. The new tiles also needed to maintain the general appearance of the paving while freshening the look of the area and delivering good slip resistance.
Ketley supplied over 280,000 quarry tiles in three brindle colours for the first phase of the restoration.
The Ketley Brick quarry tiles achieve a significantly higher slip resistance than the existing smooth-faced and waffle tiles, with mean USRV of 68, so it was therefore been decided that the waffle tiles were no longer needed.
The existing tiles were taken up to enable renewal of the waterproofing and insulation. The previous tiles were of a uniform brown brindle colour, whilst across the Barbican estate the colours vary depending on when the tiles were laid. For the renovation, the objective was to choose colours that were in keeping with the area, but which also introduced more warmth and interest across the large paving expanses. Following consultation with local residents and planners, a solution was agreed to use three tile colours mixed randomly together in a 40:40:20 ratio (brown brindle:dark multi:light multi)
With their improved slip resistance and more attractive colours, Ketley quarry tiles have helped to transform Beech Gardens, which forms part of the Barbican Estate.
The scheme demonstrates the enduring appeal of clay pavers, whose rich colours provide a warm focus amidst the surrounding concrete structures of the estate. This has set the standard for further parts of the Barbican podium paving to be renewed in future years.