Next Month, the Mackintosh School of Architecture (The Glasgow School of Art) will host its first International Symposium for Social and Humanitarian Architecture, ‘Clean Conscience Dirty Hands’, in the new Reid Building by Steven Holl Architects. The symposium focuses on the limited resources intrinsic to the provision of social and humanitarian architecture and the impact of such scarcity on the ability of organisations to ‘harness’ the learning from each built project through documentation, discussion and dissemination. As such, it seeks to provide both a locus and a forum for like-minded organisations engaged in social and humanitarian building projects, in order to capture and disseminate good practice in both a UK-based and overseas context.
International and award-winning speakers representing a multitude of organisations, including MASS Design Group, TYIN Tegnestue, Architecture for Humanity, London Metropolitan University, Peter Rich Architects and Orkidstudio will gather to discuss a range of ideas relating to one of the three topics broadly covered by the symposium:
Plans for the new Glasgow School of Art building, designed by Steven Holl Architects in association with JM Architects, received approval from the Glasgow City Council’s planning committee this week. Site preparations are scheduled for this summer, and work on the new building will immediately follow with construction scheduled to take around two years. The five story building will reside directly opposite of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterful Glasgow School of Art building.
“We are very pleased with the support from the Glasgow City Council Planning Committee. We believe that the new building will be an exciting addition to the Glasgow School of Art and will provide an inspirational environment for the students and the community,” Holl said.
Holl’s design focuses on creating a relationship between the two buildings through attention to architectural elements, such as light, materiality and proportion. The prominence of Holl’s new building has created a lot of dialogue surrounding the design, which was the winning entry in a competition for the Glasgow School Art. Our previous coverage can be found here.
Debate continues on the design for the Glasgow School of Art by Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with Glasgow based JM Architects. Last month William J.R. Curtis shared his critical thoughts on the new extension, referencing the diagrams by Holl as ‘cartoonlike’, the surface choices of glass ‘monotonous’, and the external volumes as ‘clumsy’. As we all know architecture is subjective and debate should be welcomed, hopefully resulting in a smart discussion focused on providing the best design solutions for a project. A critique of an extension to a building with such importance as Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art, a design that masterfully manipulates light into spaces and skillfully the nature of different materials, is expected. However, this review almost seemed personal and a bit uninformed. Curtis, during his critical rant even asks “where was the client during these intervening months?” referring to the initial announcement and presentation of Holl’s winning design and then later released drawings.
Continuing, “The unsatisfactory state of Holl’s proposal perhaps reveals what may happen when a star architect drops in from another planet and blinds a building committee with the “smoke and mirrors” of popularized phenomenology. Some good old Scottish common sense would have been in order to insist on greater rigor and a more appropriate response to the context.”
Holl took time to respond to Curtis’ article stating, “We welcome criticism as long as it’s based on an accurate understanding of our design. Unfortunately William Curtis’ article is not knowledgeable about our design,” and Holl also shares specifics about both the design material choices for the new extension (his full response following the break).