Five practices are the running to restore Charles Rennie Mackintosh's celebrated school of art in Glasgow. UK based John McAslan + Partners (who restored Mackintosh's last major commission), Scottish practice Page \ Park, and London and Hong-Kong based architects Purcell are all in the frame to lead the restoration of the Mackintosh Building amid a debate over how best to approach the rebuilding of the library and the areas of the building that were devastated by fire in May of last year. The selection of Avanti Architects and LDN Architects complete the rostra.
Fourteen practices, from over one hundred initial expressions of interest, formally submitted documents in the first round of the tender. The five successful bidders now have nine weeks to put forward more detailed proposals and specific costings. The brief, which emphasises the GSA's wish to use this opportunity to create an art school which is fit for the 21st century whilst still ackowleding and respecting the original listed building, allows the practices to decide whether or not to "pursue detailed reconstruction or a more creative response." A spokeswoman talking to BDOnline asked: "do they turn the clock back to May 2014 when the fire broke out, to 1909 when Mackintosh signed it off, or a third way?"
According to Liz Davidson, Mackintosh Restoration Project Director at the GSA, "all of the shortlisted practices have a strong record in undertaking major restoration and work in historic buildings together with an impressive commitment to the use of new technology and the finest craftsmanship. They each bring the level of experience and expertise that is vital to the restoration of Mackintosh’s masterpiece. We are now looking forward to hearing more about their proposed approaches."
The final proposals will be put to a panel of GSA staff and external specialists in March. It is expected that the winner will be announced towards the end of March.
From the GSA:
London-based Avanti Architects’ past portfolio of heritage building work includes the project to bring back into use Alfred Waterhouse’s 1887 Victoria Building at Liverpool University and the restoration of the iconic Art Deco Midland Hotel in Morecambe. The practice is currently working with international arts practice NVA on its St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross project.
In 2007 Edinburgh, London and Manchester-based John McAslan + Partners undertook the restoration of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s re-design of 78 Derngate in Northampton. The practice also led the restoration of Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff’s Grade I listed De La Warr Pavilion and of the iconic Marché en Fer in Haiti. One of the McAslan’s most recent projects is the development of London’s King’s Cross Station.
Edinburgh and Forres-based LDN Architects LLP have undertaken a range of heritage projects, particularly in Scotland. These include Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford House, Strathpeffer Spa Pavilion and the A Listed Fort Augustus Abbey on Loch Ness.
Among the projects in Glasgow-based Page \ Park's historic buildings portfolio are the redevelopment of Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Art, the recent refurbishment of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the conversion of Mackintosh’s Herald Building into The Lighthouse architecture and design centre. The practice has recently completed the extension to Glasgow’s historic Theatre Royal and restored the McManus Galleries in Dundee.
UK and Hong Kong-based Purcell’s historic building projects have ranged from the redevelopment of Hong Kong’s 1841 Central Police Station to work at Kew Palace, Knowle House, The School of Arts in Chatham and the National Mining Museum in Scotland.