30.06.2014 Christian Schittich

Flames consume architectural icon

Mourning for an icon of architectural history: A disastrous fire raged through Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art in early June, engulfing the famous library wing in the process. The blaze seems to have started when a projector exploded in the school basement, and the flames reached the attic within a matter of minutes. Since completion of the extinguishing work and provisional assessment of the damage, it has become apparent that at least the building itself can be saved along with the archives. The Mackintosh Library, however, the key design feature of the building, is a complete loss.  
The School of Art, which at the time of the fire disaster was still in use in its original function, was built in two stages between 1898 und 1909 according to the plans of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an architect merely 28 years of age when the work began. The building is regarded internationally as an art nouveau classic, although Mackintosh (like his Catalonian counterpart Antonio Gaudi) cannot truly be assigned to a single style. 
On the occasion of the 175th anniversary of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in 2009, the Glasgow School of Art was voted the best British-designed building in this period. It was only recently, namely in March, that an extension that also accommodates the school's new visitors' centre was completed on the other side of the street according to plans by Steven Holl.
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