The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building caught on fire at approximately 12:30, UK time on Friday, according to the BBC. The blaze began in the building’s basement and quickly engulfed all five floors. Flames and smoke were billowing out of the upper floors’ windows for much of the afternoon. According to the school, everyone was evacuated safely, some by fire fighters who arrived at the scene just four minutes after the fire was reported.
The building was currently being hung with the students’ work for the end of term exhibition. Up to four years worth of the students’ works are presumed to have been destroyed in the fire. “All that effort is gone, everyone’s work on that side of the building is ruined. Even if it didn’t catch fire it will be damaged extensively,” student Hugh Thornhill told the BBC.
At press time, the fire was still not under control, according to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. According to the BBC, Chief Fire Officer Alasdair Hay said that, “This is likely to be a protracted incident and crews have been working extremely hard to tackle what is clearly a very significant fire.”
Aside from the artworks destroyed, cultural figures across Britain lamented what was likely to be woefully extensive damage to the Mackintosh building, recently voted the “the best building of the last 175 years,” according to a Glasgow School of Art employee who spoke with the BBC. Its creator, Charles Rennie Mackintosh is considered to be the country’s most important architect and this building, his most significant work. While the stone exterior will likely survive the blaze, much Mackintosh’s meticulously designed interior has likely been lost.
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