Glasgow School of Art Starts to Rebuild

The front (north) facade of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art on Renfrew Street before the destruction of the fire Photo: Finlay McWalter

Following a fire in the Glasgow School of Art’s Charles Renne Mackintosh building last week, First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond  has pledged £5 million of match-funding to help the school rebuild and restore. He comments, “The Mack is an extraordinary building. It is an architectural gem and the artistic heart of Glasgow. It can and will be restored and everything which can be done must be done to deliver this.” The school has already received tens of thousands of pounds in online donations in addition to offers or practical help from curators, conservators, and specialists.

The Glasgow School of Art has also promised bursaries to the students most affected by the fire. The Category-A listed building housed the work of the final-year students preparing for their end-of-year degree show and the historical library in addition to being an architectural landmark. The bursaries will provide up to 100 students who lost their work with extra studio time to rebuild their portfolios.

A final-year student evacuated from the building, Anna Sundt, told the Guardian that hearing about the bursaries was a relief, “With so much focus on the building itself, I was concerned that the loss of the degree show would be lost among the headlines. Students pour their heart and soul into the show because it’s the best chance they have to showcase their talents to the wider art world. If a year’s worth of sculptors, painters and photographers had missed that opportunity it would have been another tragedy.”

Ironically, a new fire suppression system was to be fitted in the building over the summer, though there is no way to know if it would have made a difference in the fire last week. The Mackintosh building will be closed to students until Friday as authorities continue to salvage what they can.

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