Yesterday people watched on in heartbreak as the iconic Glasgow School of Art went up in flames. Smoke could be seen across the city as fire engulfed the building, destroying what can only be described as a icon of architectural history, not only for Glasgow but for art and architecture internationally. It is believed that the fire was started by an exploding projector in the basement, before climbing up the building and taking over the roof. The fire takes place mere weeks before the annual degree show, which students have spent the week installing. Today was hand-in day for classes and it is not known yet the extent of the damage. The library has also been ruined, along with the theatre and studios. It is especially poignant that, as the newly designed Reid building opens up across the street, the original is destroyed. The art school, steeped in history, is very much at the heart and spirit of the city.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh studied at GSA before designing the Renfrew Street school between the late 1890s and early 1900s. A pioneer of the Art Nouveau movement, his signature modernist swirls and cylindrical stonework could be found throughout the building, which stood as a symbol of fashion, style and Glaswegian expression.
To give a donation to the Glasgow School of Art fund, go to https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/charity/view/10885/the-glasgow-school-of-art-development-trust
Text by Mhairi Graham