The sad news caused quite a stir among the international architecture community: The iconic (not an overrated word, here) library of the Glasgow School of Art has been destroyed in a fire on the 23rd of May, which started in the basement of the building before spreading up the west side and across the roof. Thanks to the intervention of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, most of the structure of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece (built between 1899 and 1909) and “the majority of its contents” have been saved.
Fran Healy, lead singer of Scottish band Travis, was a student at the Glasgow School of Art in the early 1990s. His reaction sums up the general feeling: “The GSA is more than a building. It’s like seeing your Granda on fire”. Steven Holl and Chris McVoy, who designed the recently completed GSA’s new Reid Building across the road from Mackintosh’s original art school, declared the fire “unbelievably tragic for architecture and the history of architecture”.
Royal Institute of British Architects president Stephen Hodder said: “The most important work by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an architect of international significance, Glasgow School of Art is held in the highest regard by architects and the public alike. Damage to a building of such immense significance and uniqueness is an international tragedy. It is irreplaceable.”
The school has issued information for anyone who wishes to donate or offer help.
“Following the fire in the Mackintosh Building, the Governors, Staff and Students of The Glasgow School of Art have been touched by the many generous offers of financial support. This fund is a mechanism by which you can support an unrestricted fund to enable the GSA to respond to this sad event.”
Financial support can be given via the school’s Mackintosh Building Fire fund page on The Big Give, with a funding target of £1,000,000 (£300,000 were needed to achieve the renovation of the library windows a few months ago!)
Offers of practical assistance can also be emailed to Alan Horn, Director of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org