Glasgow School of Art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

I’m devastated to hear the news of the fire at Glasgow School of Art, this afternoon, raging through the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building from basement to roof.

I studied at the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the GSA, from 1987 – 1993 – I know this building like the back of my hand. So many memories: the heft of the swing doors at the top of the steps, the deep patina of the interior woodwork, the nooks, the utterly uncompromising seats of the lecture theatre, rendering sleep impossible even in the face of the dullest speaker, the hen-run aerie, the extraordinary quality of light, the dark stillness of the library, its windows soaring over Hill Street, the daily climb up that fucking hill…

Nobody was hurt, today, and that’s a blessing. Students have lost all their work; it’s a terrible blow but they will pick up the pieces and start again, they are just beginning on their path. But the school – 175 years of education? The building – Mackintosh’s masterpiece, an icon, one of the purest expressions of architecture in Scotland, a brilliant design mind presiding over every decision, down to the smallest detail?

I can’t begin to express what it is and what its loss would mean.


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