Photos have been released by the Scottish Fire and Rescue department of damage sustained at the library in the Glasgow School of Art. It is now clear that rooms designed by the architect have been all but destroyed. The fire which swept through the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building on Friday was brought under control at 17:00 however much of the interior and furnishings will be irreparable.
The building is recognised as one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the world, with everything down to the door handles and hinges designed by the master. It will now be rebuilt. A task of this scale has not been undertaken since fire ripped through Windsor Castle in the 1990s. Both the Scottish and British government have promised funds for the project. It will be debated in the Scottish Parliament next week.
Muriel Gray, a former student at the school, and a director of the Art College confirmed that most of the building was still standing. “The most amazing, almost miraculous news is that the majority of the building is still intact,” she said. “Due to one of the most astonishingly intelligent and professional pieces of strategy by the fire services, they succeeded in protecting the vast majority of the building, apparently by forming a human wall of firefighters up the west end of the main staircase and containing the fire.” She added: “Also, after ensuring no lives were in peril, they displayed an impressive understanding of the precious nature of the building, and due to their careful and meticulous handling of each developing situation the damage is considerably less than we dreaded. “We have run out of words with which to thank them, but the school has most certainly gained a new gallery of heroes.”
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1868. His unique, innovative style changed architecture forever. Mackintosh was an architect, designer and artist who is an even more enigmatic figure today than when he was alive. While the astonishing modernity of his work has long ensured him a place of prominence among the pioneers of the Modern Movement, in recent years his promotion of symbolic decoration has been hailed as prophetically post-modern.