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GSoA Mackintosh Building Restoration

94375 Views 534 Replies 96 Participants Last post by  Kentigern
Latest update from GSoA. Donation information here;

The Glasgow School of Art – Mackintosh Building update 25 May 2014.

The Glasgow School of Art is currently implementing the removal of items within the Mackintosh Building following Friday’s fire. The site remains under the control of Scottish Fire - West.

“The GSA is currently implementing its plan to retrieve the student works, its archive and collections from the Mackintosh Building” says Professor Tom inns, Director of the GSA. “The first priority is to retrieve any of our archive and collections in need of immediate conservation, followed by the student work which will where necessary be given over to experts for conservation work to be undertaken. Other items will then be systematically retrieved.”

The art school will be working with a number of expert organisations to undertake this work including Constantine Art Movers.

The GSA also confirmed that the 1897-99 part of the building has survived intact. This includes the Director’s Office and Studio, Mackintosh Museum, Mackintosh Room, Board Room and Furniture Gallery. The GSA Archives have also survived.

The main part of the damage is in the 1907- 09 part of the building (the west wing). At this point it is not possible to confirm the extent of the impact beyond the fact that the library and studio above were sadly lost in the blaze, although it seems certain that the infrastructure of the Mackintosh Lecture Theatre is intact.

Professor Inns once again reiterated his thanks to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and to the thousands of people who have sent messages of support and offers of assistance.

“The SFRC did not simply go the extra mile, but a marathon in their efforts to ensure that the as much of the Mackintosh Building and student work as possible was protected,” says Professor Inns.

“We have been overwhelmed by the number of messages of support from the local community in Glasgow and friends across the world, and the generosity of individuals and organisations in offering expert assistance to help us in these difficult times,” he adds.

Anyone wishing to offer any kind of support or assistance can do so via

The GSA does not anticipate making further announcements until Tuesday 27 May.

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Saw Fiona Hyslop on TV earlier giving a commitment in terms of the restoration saying everything that needs to be done will be done. She talked about GSA using their expertise in digital documentation towards "the rebirth and the recovery and the remaking of the Macintosh building".

She also said conservation work by Historic Scotland meant that the archive had recently been moved into a new state of the art conservation archive and records which had until recently been in the library were thankfully protected.
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Pictured this afternoon: @GSofA alumnus Kenny Hunter's Citizen Firefighter statue. Addition by anonymous.
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From Page\Park's website:

A little candle for hope in architecture was extinguished in all our hearts on Friday. As we watched the unfolding horror our first thought was: tell us there was nobody left in there. Then bit by bit, those who knew the building counted off what they remembered of the inside, from the outside of every room where the flames spread: please stop, don't go there. In that cauldron, there were moments for many of us when all hope seemed lost; flames raging across the 'hen run' then seemingly raging across the back roof. It's all lost. But some amazing Glasgow fire-fighters fought it with an intelligence and calculated bravery - and somehow they stopped it. We didn't know they had been stopping it from the beginning, just that they couldn't turn it off, they needed to work it out over the long hours of Friday afternoon. But in one vicious final twist, the room we prayed wouldn't be touched, the beautiful library, it's restoration just complete, the room we willed would not be touched, that seemed to unbelievably not have been consumed, just went.

We imagine for many who have had the privilege to enter the building regularly, it was somehow incredible that we could walk, use and share this amazing piece of architecture. Every sinew of it reminded us of the possibility of art and form shaping and inspired our actions. And in that incredulity many of us reflected this as priceless. Maybe we shouldn't be in here? How are we being allowed to walk these corridors and rooms without someone watching us from the corner, telling us not to go too close, don't touch that. And because nobody was watching, we did all go too close and we did all touch it. We could do that because it was still the Art School. For over a hundred years we had been allowed to work within it, make art and, indeed for a long time, make architecture within it. For folk from Glasgow it was that mystical place you aspired go, where in the arms of belief the potential of architecture and art could be nurtured into artistic life. You maybe weren't as good at maths but you could draw like an angel. And when you left, unlike any other place, the Art School stayed with you. Of course some of the rooms which were so precious had been made more challenging to get into and the need to balance art and visit skewed slightly towards protection. A lot of money and effort had been spent by the Art School and its supporters, taking the pressure off the interior and providing more space elsewhere. Indeed the last steps towards a protective system were being put in place. But despite all the niggles in our mind, it still remained an Art School. It remained a home for young artists to nurture their talents, to work and show their emerging skills to the city and beyond. It was a home we all vicariously shared. So in those flames on Friday, the hopes and dreams of some young people disappeared. What this building had been built for was taken away.

Thankfully the fire was stopped. The young artists will be helped to rebuild their start in art. But what of the building itself? What we realised on Friday was that with the careful stewardship and pedagogy of the last century, the true legacy of Newbery Mackintosh is both art in actual practice and, at the same time, the gentle monument to Art of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art. That ideal should not be lost. Of course there will be more protection but it should remain a working building, otherwise we send a signal to society that architecture's role has become isolated to the point of being useless - other than to be admired.

In our favour, the Art School is one of the most recorded buildings ever: in photographs, drawings and archives. There is a vast catalogue of its anatomy and curatorial knowledge which can be the foundation for its reconstruction. In the early years of our practice we were invited to Warsaw in the white hot period of Lech Wałęsa and the Solidarity movement. There, everyone seemed to be a part of it: architects too. We learned that before the Second World War, fearing the destruction of their cities, every building in the 'old town' was measured and, at the outbreak of War, the drawings were extracted from the city and hidden in rural churches. The occupying forces tried to find them but failed and, from the wreckage they left, these drawings became the basis for rebuilding the old town. Today, we can't help but think back to those moments spent with the elderly archivist in Warsaw who recalled with such pride the rebuilding of a piece of living city.

The archive of the Glasgow School of Art has been saved by our Glasgow fire-fighters. It is the foundation for rebuilding this home of Art - one for us all to still get up close to.

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It was very sad to learn about the fire, though like everyone it was good that there were no loss of life or injuries, and that with coordination, the fire was put out with most of the building fabric surviving, if damaged. As with some other famous heritage buildings in Britain, I am confident that this Mackintosh building can be repaired, that the lost elements including the library can be reinstated, and the building returned to its full glory, with perhaps some discrete modifications to ensure it is less vulnerable to a major fire and fire spread.
Art school launches appeal to help save treasures and repair building hit by blaze

Published on 27 May 2014

FIREFIGHTERS are continuing to sift through the debris following the blaze which tore through Glasgow School of Art.

Staff have started the painstaking process of removing valuable items in need of urgent attention.

And the school say they have received an influx of offers of both practical and financial help.

The spokeswoman said: "People kept saying they wanted to give us money so we have set up a place where anyone who wants to give money can do so."

They have launched an appeal due to the sheer number of people interested in donating to help pay for restoration or repairs.

Staff were seen yesterday carrying parts of picture frames and wooden panels out of the fire-ravaged building.

Some have clearly been badly damaged by the blaze while others look to be untouched.

Some pieces have been carefully placed in plastic containers and removed by workers. Experts will assess all the salvaged items and decide which need urgent attention and which can be treated later.

A crane was brought on to site to allow experts to check the condition of the windows and the exterior of the building.

It had been feared the world-famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh building would be destroyed by Friday's inferno which started in the basement, but quick-thinking firefighters succeeded in saving 90% of the structure and 70% of the contents.

The renowned Mackintosh library and its contents have been severely damaged.

Fire crews have spent days going through every inch of the structure to ensure there are no remaining pockets of flame. They are also checking the structure to make certain it is safe before handing the building back to the art school.

A spokeswoman for the GSA said: "The fire service will not release the building until they are certain another fire will not break out and that the building is safe.

"Until that happens, we cannot implement any plans."

Some Mackintosh furniture was removed as the blaze started but much remains in the building - including work that fine art students had prepared for their degree show.

The spokeswoman said the priority will be removing as much of that as possible once the building is deemed safe and handed back.

She added: "Any archive material that needed immediate restoration has been taken out.

"Fire crews are not expected to hand the structure back until today at the earliest."
Bursaries for art school students as £5m pledged to restore The Mack

Students who lost work after fire swept through the "truly unique" Charles Rennie Mackintosh building at Glasgow School of Art (GSA) will be given special bursaries.

The scheme will help give students studio time to develop new work and rebuild their portfolio following the blaze at the world-renowned building on Friday.

First Minister Alex Salmond also announced that funds raised by the institution to restore the building to its former glory will be matched by the Scottish Government, with up to £5 million being offered.

About 200 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze at its height and the fire service has been widely praised after crews salvaged 90% of the structure and saved up to 70% of its contents.

As well as housing one of Europe's leading art schools, the listed Mackintosh-designed building is a tourist attraction in its own right.

Completed at the turn of the 20th century, it was voted as the best building of the past 175 years in a poll by the Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba).

Professor Tom Inns, director at the art school, said: "The beating heart of the GSA is its students and our priority is to ensure that all those most seriously affected by the fire are given the opportunity to rebuild their practice.

"The GSA will therefore create special bursaries which will enable the students have sufficient studio time to develop their practice and make new work."

Mr Salmond also announced that ministers would work with GSA to develop the bursaries scheme.

He said: "The Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art is truly unique and last week's fire was a devastating blow for students and staff as well as the wider arts and architecture community worldwide.

"The very severe damage to the building's iconic library, in particular, is a cultural loss of significant magnitude.

"The Mack is an extraordinary building. It is an architectural gem and the artistic heart of Glasgow. It can and will be restored, and everything which can be done must be done to deliver this."

The funding announcement comes as a team of 35 specialist conservation staff from Historic Scotland have been sent to the building as part of the salvage operation.

The main part of the damage caused was in the 1907- 09 part of the building, including the loss of the unique library.

However, the 1897-99 part of the building has survived intact, including the Mackintosh Museum, Mackintosh Room, the director's office and studio, boardroom and furniture gallery.

The archives have also survived.

A joint investigation between the fire service and Police Scotland is working to identify the cause of the blaze.

Final-year students had been preparing for their end-of-year degree show when the blaze broke out.

GSA said an enhanced fire suppression system was due to be completed at the building over the summer but did not include standard sprinklers because of the potential risk of water damage to artefacts.

During topical questions at Holyrood today, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop was asked if there were plans to review the fire risk at other historic buildings.

Glasgow Labour MSP Drew Smith said: "We don't know if a more advanced fire prevention system would have been of great assistance in this case, but it is of course a tragic irony that that work was planned but hadn't been completed before this fire broke out."

Ms Hyslop responded: "I can confirm that the GSA building had appropriate fire protection for a grade A listed building, although it is always difficult to ensure an appropriate system.

"They were doing the right thing in implementing that but clearly in terms of the interruption over the period for understandable reasons that had not as yet been completed.

"Historic Scotland are constantly working with those in the heritage aspects. Many of them are privately-owned buildings, it's not just those that are in the public sector or under the protection of government agencies so that is under constant review.

"But I am absolutely clear that GSA have always been very conscious of the risk. Unfortunately that risk was realised over the weekend."
Just walked past the site as I always do going home from work and took a couple of photos. I held my breath as I approached but I'm actually relieved that the damage to the western wing looks a lot less than I anticipated. Also the building looked solid.

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Still shocked that so much damage has been caused so quickly. I've never managed to visit the Mack, hopefully the restoration will be completed as quickly as it can.
Noticed on their site that they had just completed restoring the library's windows in December 2013!
Every first year undergraduate at the GSA gets a guided tour at some point in their first semester. That tour really made me appreciate both the Mac and the cities architecture in general. This building made me join this forum! I've been thinking a lot about the fire recently, and how the Mac sits in my mind, and why the fire affected me (and my coursemates) so much.

Having been stationed at Skypark all those years, and now in the Reid building, the Mac has always had a sort of enigmatic presence over my studies. It sits there like a great monolith to which I am unworthy! On those odd days when I need to visit the finance office or something, I really feel like I'm being watched by those stained glass eyes. To me it is a true beast of a building, one which demands your respect, and to see that fire rip through the western wing was like seeing the building on it's knees, and there was nothing you could do to intervene.

Glad to see it's not as bad as we had feared, but I'm already hearing some sad stories about people losing work. All GSA buildings are closed right now while the School figures out what to do.
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GSA wasting no time on preserving the Mack structure!

Work underway on Western Gable of The Mackintosh Building

Staff from The Glasgow School of Art and Historic Scotland are working in partnership to carry out an early phase of reconstruction of this exceptionally important building.

Experts from the Digital Design Studio at the GSA have laser scanned the Western Gable and created a 3d plan. Specialists from Historic Scotland have now marked up the stones in line with this plan.

Tomorrow work will begin on deconstructing and laying aside a small section of the uppermost part of the Western Gable for conservation.

The work will be undertaken by specialist stone masons and the stones will be conserved and protected at Historic Scotland's Glasgow Cathedral Depot for reinstatement at a later date.

Further information
Lesley Booth
0779 941 4474
[email protected]
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Great to hear it
Student Guard Of Honour as Fire And Rescue Service leave Renfrew Street.

Students from The Glasgow School of Art gave a guard of honour send off to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service today (30 May 2014) as they left the Garnethill campus where they have been in 24-hour attendance since the fire broke out in the Mackintosh Building last Friday. The last of the SFRS appliances drove down Renfrew Street accompanied by a piper and loud cheers from the GSA staff and students.

“The students returned to the campus today and the GSA is now focussing on its academic work moving forward towards graduation,” says Professor Tom Inns Director of The Glasgow School of Art.

“However we did not want to miss this opportunity to once again register our deep and heart felt thanks to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service who over the last week have been quite simply amazing.”

The news came as the Architects Journal, which last week awarded the GSA’s Reid Building the prestigious AJ 100 Building of the Year accolade, announced that it is to present a special architectural award to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for its extraordinary efforts in saving one of the world's most admired buildings.

AJ acting editor Rory Olcayto said: ‘Their bravery, quick- wittedness and civic pride are qualities the whole architecture profession is grateful for.’
The Glasgow School of Art is now working towards the end of the academic year and 2014 graduation. Meanwhile, expert stonemasons from Historic Scotland have begun to remove part of the Western Gable of the Mackintosh Building which is being taken away for conservation work.
Fire crews leave Glasgow Art School Mackintosh building

Staff and students from Glasgow School of Art applauded as fire crews handed over the building and left the scene

Staff and students at Glasgow School of Art have lined the streets to applaud fire crews leaving the scene of the blaze-hit Mackintosh building .

They were showing their appreciation to firefighters whose efforts resulted in most of the iconic building and its contents being saved.

The firefighters departure came a week to the day since the fire broke out.

A fund launched to meet the cost of the restoration work has already attracted millions of pounds in pledges.
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What I love about the GSA is that they already have the people and the contacts to repair and rebuild.
That's awesome seeing people applaud the fire services, services that we take for granted a lot.
It makes me proud of as a citizen after people's response and firefighters' heroism.
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