Glasgow School of Art

Entrance, Mackintosh Building, Glasgow School of Art
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Entrance, Mackintosh Building, Glasgow School of Art

Located on Renfrew Street, in the Garnethill district of the city, the Glasgow School of Art was established in 1845 as a Government School of Design, run by the Department of Science and Art in London. It is the second-oldest design school in Britain. In 1901, control was transferred to the Scottish Office. Today the School caters for some 1500 students and is funded as a 'central institution' by the Scottish Government, through the Scottish Funding Council. Academically divided into three schools - the Mackintosh School of Architecture, the School of Fine Art and the School of Design and Craft - degrees are validated by the University of Glasgow.

New buildings were commissioned by the School's Head, Fra Newbery (1855 - 1946), with strict architectural and financial constraints. Charles Rennie Mackintosh's design met these criteria and work started on the eastern phase of the building in 1897 and was completed in 1899, whilst the western phase was begun in 1907 and finished two years later. The building has many of the characteristics for which Mackintosh has become famous and is regarded as a prime example of his work. Sitting on one of Glasgow's drumlins, the Mackintosh Building has a very prominent position in the city, but was unfortunately devastated by fire in 2014 with the complete loss of its iconic library, which had been recognised as one of the finest examples of the Art Nouveau style in the world. The Mackintosh Restoration Project was quickly launched, with £5 million support from the UK government, aiming to create an exact replacement for the library, following meticulous standards of conservation and traditional craftsmanship, combined with modern technology. As restoration was ongoing, the building was engulfed by a second fire in 2018, even more devastating than the first.

Many of Scotland's best artists, architects, sculptors and designers, together with several musicians and actors, have passed through its doors.

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