Glasgow School of Art outlines plans to rebuild the Mac


The school said it had carried out a “rigorous analysis” of future options for the devastated Charles Rennie Mackintosh monument, which was destroyed by fire on June 15, 2018 while undergoing a £ 35million restoration program following a fire in 2014.

The school said it had looked closely at a wide range of alternatives, including a ‘do to the minimum’ approach, new construction on site or elsewhere on the GSA campus, a hybrid or full reinstatement. .

The review, known as the Strategic Business Case, looked at strategic, economic, business, financial and managerial issues as well as the sustainability and social, cultural and educational impact of each option.

The “comprehensive and structured process” was led by external consultants and involved consultation with the local community, heritage sector, local and national government and GSA alumni, students and staff. He concluded that a faithful reinstatement was the preferred way forward.

According to the GSA, this reconstruction will take place “within the practical constraints of the regulatory environment, while innovating to ensure that digital and sustainability are at the heart of the building”.

The school said the option would “protect the nation’s heritage” while creating an “iconic green building” that could serve as a catalyst for the regeneration of Garnethill and Sauchiehall Street.

He said this preferred reconstruction route would now be “taken into account more”.

The exact dates for the start of work are not yet known, although it is understood that they will start between 2022 and 2027, the period covered by the GSA’s five-year strategic plan. The AJ understands, however, that the building is not expected to be in use again until then – at least six years from now.

Meanwhile, there is still no sign of the long-awaited report on the cause of the 2018 fire.

On the first anniversary of the fire in 2019, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) said its report was in the ‘final stages’, but was later pushed back to 2020.

His latest update says he can’t provide a date for the report’s release, but expects his investigation to be completed by the end of 2021.

Earlier this month, Deputy Managing Director Stuart Stevens, director of service delivery for SFRS, said the investigation was still ongoing. He told the AJ: “Although it is not possible at this time to provide a definitive timetable, we anticipate the conclusion of our investigation by the end of the year.

“We would like to thank everyone for their understanding and patience as we continue this important investigation into the fire.”

What is a faithful reinstatement?

The GSA’s preferred path forward includes a complete overhaul of the Mackintosh Building, including the conservation and reuse of the remaining structure. This includes reuse of existing foundation and remaining exterior stone / masonry walls and remaining interior walls and floors where possible.

The existing exterior walls will be supported by a new temporary facade retention structure, if necessary, to allow for the construction of a new interior frame in which the exterior walls will be attached to create a new solid structure.

Iconic spaces, such as the Library, Council Room, Director’s Office, Mackintosh Room, Amphitheater, Studio 58, Hen Run, Loggia, Museum, and Studio 11 will be reinstated along with all the others. spaces, including studios. This option also takes into account compliance with the latest building regulations.

Mac late June 2018 Peter Drummond

Source: Peter Drummond


Alan Dunlop, architect and Mac alumnus

Contemporary building regulations were not part of Mackintosh’s creative agenda 110 years ago. The main elements that made it so brilliant, the vast entrance staircase leading to the open gallery on the first floor, the double height studios with open access corridors, the open staircases at each end, the double landings height and the innovative plenum system could not be replicated, in my opinion, without too many compromises.

My reading of the release is that they will keep what they can of the original Mackintosh building and build new ones around it, replicating the historically significant elements. The faithful restoration of the Mackintosh Building must be undertaken with great sensitivity and expertise, so that Mackintosh’s legacy is respected. Recovery appears to be part of a five year plan and I would say that a trust is now specifically put in place to manage this process.

Today the school faces legal challenges and must focus on student satisfaction and staff morale. The Glasgow School of Art may still be in the top 10 art schools in the world, but it is among the worst schools in the UK for student satisfaction and experience. Historically, it is its students who have made the school’s international reputation. However, now GSA is 47th in the recent Guardian ranking of art schools – Dundee far above – and even lower in student satisfaction.

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