GSOA library

Friday was a sad day for the art and design world with fire engulfing the Glasgow School of Art in the city’s heart, destroying the library and damaging multiple floors of the treasured building.While thankfully there were no injuries to staff or students, it is deeply saddening to hear of the loss of one of the art and design worlds most significant pieces of architecture, and most important examples of art nouveau design.


The building was designed by Glasgow born Charles Rennie Mackintosh (7 June 1868 – 10 December 1928) , who developed plans for the building at just 28 years of age when he was working as a junior draughtsman.

Macintosh as 28 when he deisigned the building

Mackintosh was a member of the Glasgow Four , or Scottish Spook School, along with his wife Margaret MacDonald, her sister Frances MacDonald, and her husband Herbert MacNair .The four met at the School of Arts and collaborated through the late 1890’s into the early 1900’s. The four exhibited together in Glasgow, London and most importantly for Mackintosh,in Vienna, as part of the 8th Vienna Succession, where Macintosh and his designs reached international acclaim.

             GSOA Museum interior

The Glasgow School of Arts building took 12 years to complete, established in two distinct phases, the first 1897-99 and second 1907-09, delayed due to financial constraints The building contrasts Scottish baronial architecture of heavy sandstone, and large windows with art nouveau curves and rectilinear lines. The Art Nouveau interiors were completed by Mackintosh in partnership with his wife Margaret, and include dark wood furniture with art nouveau motifs, pendant lighting and glass cabinets The library was recognized as being one of the finest examples of art nouveau in the world

        _75061842_gsa                  GSOA libray interior

Mackintosh’s other famous buildings including the Hill House in Helensburgh and the Scotland Street School in the south of Glasgow.

Three of the four of this year’s British Turner Prize nominees — Duncan Campbell, Ciara Phillips, Tris Vonna-Michell — studied at Glasgow School of Arts , as did actors Robbie Coltrane and Peter Capaldi.

Hopefully, the Mackintosh legacy will be salvaged so generations of future artists ,designers and architects can be inspired by his genius.

One of the best sites to learn more about Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his work is The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society site

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