Cause Of Glasgow’s Mackintosh School Of Art Fire Revealed

Scottish Fire and Rescue in the aftermath of the fire. Image © Stewart Attwood

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) have revealed the unfortunate series of events that led to the school’s iconic Mackintosh library, alongside a large collection of student work and archives, devastated in a fire in May of this year. According to BDOnline, who have spoken with Tom Inns (Director of the GSA), “final-year students were setting up their degree show projects in the basement and holes in some pre-built foam panels were being filled with the spray foam.”

The flammable gas used as a propellant in the canister was sucked into [a nearby] projector’s cooling fan, setting it alight. A foam panel directly behind the projector then quickly also caught light. “The flames quickly spread to timber panelling and through voids around the basement studio and then into the library two floors above and up through the rest of Mackintosh’s 1909 masterpiece.” To add insult to injury, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) reported that “a fire suppression system was in the latter stages of installation at the time of the fire but was not operational.”

Glasgow School of Art Begins Search for Restoration Architect

© Gordon Hawes Via The Mac Photographic Archive

To repair the damage caused by May’s devastating fire, the Glasgow School of Art is searching for a team to carry out the restoration of Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s celebrated building. Following the overwhelming public support for restoration instead of a contemporary reinterpretation, the selected team will be required to return the building to its original condition over a predicted construction period of five years. More on the restoration after the break.

Heathcote Examines The Architecture Of Scottish Independence

Scotland have voted against independence.

Arguably there are only two architects in history that have become almost completely synonymous with one particular city – Charles Rennie Mackintosh for Glasgow and Antoní Gaudi for Barcelona. Indeed, a Catalonian architect, Enric Miralles, designed the Scottish Parliament Building in Holyrood, . The fact that both of these cities are part of large enclaves who are seeking, or have sought, independence is perhaps just a coincidence. Architecture, often used as a symbol for the identity of nationhood, will certainly be part of a wider dialogue about the Union of the United Kingdom following yesterday’s referendum.

Two Symposiums Will Help Determine Glasgow School of Art’s Restoration

Glasgow School of Art ablaze (unknown source)

The Glasgow School of Art have announced that they will hold two symposiums in order to discuss the restoration of the school’s library which was devastated in a fire in May of this year. The first conference, to be held in ’s Querini Stampalia, will act as a precursor to a second conference to be held in Glasgow in 2015. According to Professor Christopher Platt, head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture, the meetings will help to answer the question: “What should the plans be for bringing the Mackintosh building into full use once more and how should we approach the particular issue of the Macintosh library?”

RIBA Future Trends Survey Reveals Decrease in Workload & Staffing Levels

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for July 2014 show that the Workload Index among  practices fell back to +28 (from +34 in June) with confidence levels among RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong in practices of all sizes across the whole of the .” Whereas last month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, London showed the greatest strength in July with a balance figure of +38. Practices located in Wales and the West were the most cautious about prospects for future workloads, returning a balance figure of just +12. The survey shows that actual workloads have been growing for four consecutive quarters and the overall value of work in progress last month was 10% higher than this time last year.

Scottish Architects To Launch “Architects For Yes” Campaign in Edinburgh

The Scottish Parliament Building in . Image © Dave Morris Photography

In advance of the Scottish Independence vote next month, a group of Edinburgh-based architects led by Alasdair Stephen of Dualchas Architects will launch an “Architects for Yes” campaign in support of independence. The campaign, which currently has backing from over 50 architects, states these architects’ belief that independence could be a way to “design a new, better .” More about the campaign and the launch ceremony after the break.

Influential Scottish Architect Andy MacMillan Dies Aged 85

Courtesy of RIAS

Professor Andy MacMillan, one of Scotland‘s most important post-war architects, died suddenly this weekend during this year’s Royal Incorporation of Architects in (RIAS) Andrew Doolan Awards visits. Macmillan was a professor at the Glasgow School of Art from 1973 to 1994, and a partner at Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1966. More on MacMillan’s legacy after the break.

Review: MacMag39, Mackintosh School of Architecture

Courtesy of MagMag39

MagMag, a student-edited compendium of essays, projects and ideas from ’s Mackintosh School of Architecture, is now in its 39th edition. Following on from what has so far been a momentous year for the Mac, in which they’ve seen Steven Holl Architects’ new Seona Reid Building formally open and parts of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s art school (along with a great deal of student work) devastated in a fire, MacMag39 is a celebration of the spirit of a school which is faced with a challenging question: how do they introduce and then reconcile the new alongside the existing against the backdrop of an academically rich, diverse and successful learning environment?

RIBA Future Trends Survey Shows Workload Forecasts Are Firmly In Positive Territory

Courtesy of RIBA

The results of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBAFuture Trends Survey for June show that the Workload Index among practices increased slightly to +34 (from +33 in May) with confidence levels amongst RIBA practices about the level of future workloads remaining “very strong and widespread across the whole of the ”. Whereas last month’s survey showed Wales and the West with the brightest outlook, this month’s survey saw Scotland top the index with a balance figure of +50, the and East Anglia tailing closely behind with a figure of +48. Workload forecasts from practices of all sizes are optimistically reporting positive balance figures.

Photographic Archive Crowdsources Your Memories of The Mac

The School of Art Library in 1976. Image © Gordon Hawes Via The Mac Photographic Archive

The interior of Charles Rennie Mackintosh‘s Glasgow School of Art is, thankfully, being restored after being tragically damaged by fire last month. However, despite Scottish and Rescue managing to save around 70% of the building’s precious contents, many will likely struggle to get over the feeling that something is missing without the natural patina of 100 years of use.

In response to this feeling, GSA Alumnus Lizzie Malcolm and Daniel Powers have created The Mac Photographic Archive, a website that allows anyone to upload photographs of the building and tag them with the room they depict and the date they were taken – compiling the ultimate collection of memories of the building’s proud history. Click here to look through the archive, and contribute your own images to the collection.

RIAS Announces this Year’s 13 Best Scottish Buildings

The Inn at John O’Groats / GLM. Image © Pip Rustage

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) have announced the winners of the 2014 RIAS Awards. Selected from the 83 entries, these buildings represent the best in Scottish architecture from the past year. This year Glasgow buildings make up significant number of the 13 winners, demonstrating the positive results of the city gearing up to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games later this summer.

The RIAS Awards are held in parallel with the RIBA National Awards, with submitted projects eligible for both. This year, 4 RIAS Award winners were also National Award winners. See the full list of winners after the break.

Scottish Charity Aims to Resurrect Brutalist Icon

© Flickr CC User Stuart Caie

The Scottish arts charity NVA is looking for an architect to carry out the restoration of St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in 1966. The building is an icon of post war brutalism; the Grade-A listed structure was voted as the best modern building in Scotland by readers of Prospect Magazine in 2005, and is likely to feature heavily in Scotland’s show at the 2014 Venice Biennale. However despite this adoration, the building had a very short functional life and has been in a state of ruin ever since it was abandoned in the 1980s.

NVA is looking for an architect “highly skilled in the conservation of modernist buildings” to take on the £8 million restoration, which will see the sanctuary and refectory preserved in a “semi-ruinous state”, and a nearby 19th-century greenhouse converted into a visitor centre.

Read on after the break for more on the restoration

Reiach and Hall to Represent Scotland at Venice Architecture Biennale

The controversy around Glasgow’s Red Road is one of the subjects that is crucial to Scottish . Image © Amanda Vincent-Rous

The Edinburgh-based firm Reiach and Hall will be representing Scotland at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale. The show will showcase ’s rich modernist heritage, featuring buildings such as Gillespie, Kidd & Coia’s St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross and the church designs of Reiach and Hall’s founder Alan Reiach, focusing on the positive aspects of these buildings which are often seen negatively by the Scottish public. “Certainly buildings from that period get a difficult press – the stories about the Red Road flats and so on don’t really help that – but we hope to explain and examine the real optimism of that period” said Neil Gillespie, Director of Reiach and Hall.

Scotland’s contribution at the biennale will be based in the UK pavilion for a month-long residency, as well as a show and presentations at other locations around Venice.

RIBA’s Future Trends Survey Reveals Small Drop in March

Courtesy of

The Royal Institute of British Architects‘ (RIBA) latest Future Trends Survey indicates a small drop from February’s index, “down to +35 from its all-time high of +41.” Despite this, “confidence levels about an improvement in future workloads for architects remain very solid.” All types of practice size, ranging from those with fewer than 10 employees to those with over 50 staff, are “reporting positive balance figures.” The strongest future workload forecasts came from Scotland and the North of England, suggesting that “the recovery in confidence levels is now widespread across the and has spread beyond London and the South East.”

Glasgow Scraps Plan for Europe’s Largest Demolition

© Amanda Vincent-Rous

UPDATE: The Guardian reports that the plans to demolish the Red Road Flats during the have been scrapped due to concerns over public safety. The following news was originally published as “Glasgow to Demolish Iconic Modern Towers in Europe’s Largest Demolition” on April 10th, 2014.

To mark the arrival of the Commonwealth Games in July, Glasgow is planning a twist on the usual opening ceremony: the customary fireworks are going to be replaced with explosives of an altogether different kind, as the demolition of all but one of the remaining Red Road Flats buildings will be broadcast live into the stadium.

The demolition of the five 30-story buildings will take 15 seconds and will be the largest ever attempted in Europe, according to the organizers. According to Games Organizer Eileen Gallagher, including the demolition as part of the opening ceremony shows that Glasgow is “a city that is proud of its history but doesn’t stand still, a city that is constantly regenerating, renewing and re-inventing itself.”

Could Mobile Technology Help Us Define “Good” Architecture?

Courtesy of gizmodo.com

Architecture researchers in have completed a breakthrough study on brain activity recorded in situ by using mobile electroencephalography (EEG) technology, which records live neural impressions of subjects moving through a city. Excitingly, this technology could help us define how different urban environments affect us, a discovery that could have provocative implications for architecture. Read the full story on Salon. Also, check out this article from Fast Company about how a similar mobile technology could show us the effects of – not on our brains, but on our bodies. 

Kengo Kuma’s V&A at Dundee Granted Planning Permission

© & Associates

After a slight redesign scaled the building’s stone facade back from the waters edge to reduce construction costs, Kengo Kuma & Associates has been granted planning permission from the city council’s development management committee to construct the V&A at Dundee. The “world-class,” competition-winning proposal will be the first V&A museum constructed outside of London, serving as an international center of design for all of .

Zaha Hadid Wins European Museum of the Year Award for Riverside

Riverside Museum / ZHA © McAteer Photograph/Alan McAteer

Riverside Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, has won the prestigious (EMYA) for it’s ability to “demonstrate brilliantly how a specialist transport collection can renew its relevance through active engagement with the wider social and universal issues.”

Out of 40 museums from across 21 European countries, the jury agreed unanimously that ZHA’s Riverside Museum fulfilled the EMYA criteria of ‘public quality’ at the highest level.