Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building to be faithfully restored after devastating fire

Reconstructing the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building as a “faithful recovery” from one destroyed by fire three years ago is the preferred option for its future, art school heads have said.


The world-famous building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, suffered extensive damage when a fire broke out late on June 15, 2018, as it neared the end of a £ 35million restoration project following a previous fire in May 2014.

The north facade of the Mackintosh building. McAteer photo credit.
A Strategic Business Case (SOBC) for the Mackintosh project, which involved a rigorous analysis of options for the building, was performed and collapsed to create a short list of deliverables – faithful refurbishment, hybrid and new construction – that were further tested against a “minimum do” option.
The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) said the SOBC has demonstrated that the best option is to undertake a faithful reintegration within the practical constraints of the regulatory environment, and the preferred option will now be considered further.

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Construction work would start between 2022 and 2027.
GSA Director Professor Penny Macbeth said: “The original art school building is synonymous with the Glasgow School of Art and it has been at the heart of learning, teaching and development. GSA research for over a century, while being an important part of the Glasgow School. cultural life and heritage.
‘One of the recommendations of the Scottish Government Committee report on Cultural Tourism, Europe and External Affairs was that we needed to look at a range of options for the future of the building, and the strategic business case was does just that, subjecting each of them to rigorous analysis.
“The heart of the SOBC was a stakeholder engagement program and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in this program, including our external steering group, led by Professor John French, for their contributions and their vital ideas.
“We will continue to work closely with our stakeholders throughout the project. ”

HeraldScotland: Debris cleared from inside building.  McAteer photo credit.Debris cleared from inside the building. McAteer photo credit.
Faithful reclamation would include a complete reclamation 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 would be supported by a new temporary facade retention structure, if necessary, to allow for the construction of a new interior framing, into which the exterior walls will be attached to create a new solid structure.
Spaces such as the Library, Meeting Room, Director’s Office, Mackintosh Room, Amphitheater, Studio 58, Hen Run, Loggia, Museum, and Studio 11 would be reinstated, along with all others. spaces, including studios.
This option also takes into account compliance with the latest building regulations.

HeraldScotland: Inside the Mackintosh Building after the 2018 fire. Photo credit McAteer.Inside the Mackintosh building after the 2018 fire. Photo credit McAteer.
The GSA said the preferred option addresses the key success factors in each of the areas of the business case and will benefit the nation, students, community, academia and economy by achieving the goals. academics of the GSA.
The preferred recommendation will be subject to a more detailed assessment at the business case stage, which will further examine the areas, including funding.

However, Professor Alan Dunlop, a distinguished architect, fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and the Royal Society of Arts and trained at the Mackintosh School of Architecture, said: “The main elements that made it so brilliant, the vast entrance staircase through the foyer then to the open gallery on the first floor; double-height studios with open access corridors; stairs open at each end; the double height bearings and the innovative plenum system could not be replicated, in my opinion, without a lot of compromise.
“The ‘faithful restoration’ of the Mackintosh Building must be undertaken with deep sensitivity and expertise, so that Mackintosh’s legacy is respected.
“Reinstatement appears to be part of a five-year plan and I would suggest that a trust now be specifically created to manage this process.”
More than 120 firefighters battled the 2018 blaze at its peak. The flames also seized the neighboring concert hall 02 ABC.


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Kayleen C. Rice