darkemeralds: (catastrophe)
[personal profile] darkemeralds
One of the brightest highlights of all my travels over the years was visiting Glasgow three years ago as the guest of [personal profile] kis and Mr Kis. And the highlight of that highlight was the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building on Renfrew Street that houses the Glasgow School of Art.

Facade of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building, Renfrew Street Glasgow, UK

Kis and I walked there from a little lower down in the town. Glasgow celebrates its status as a cradle of Art Nouveau and the home of Mackintosh in all kinds of ways, but that building, which Mackintosh and his wife designed and built specifically to be an art school, and which has been an art school since it opened its doors in 1909, is the crown jewel. Climbing to it is entirely appropriate.

From basement to rooftop, the Mackintoshes designed everything in the building. Clocks, locks, beams, benches, the very room numbers on the doors...everything. The elegant curves and straight lines, the just-so ornamentation, the restrained exuberance of Art Nouveau are everywhere.

I don't know why it struck me so--maybe because it's urban, and technical, and seems to have arisen out of the industrial heart of a wonderful, harsh, challenging northern city--but it did. It grabbed me and took hold of my imagination, and I immediately started a novel set in Glasgow in the period. Its opening scene was set in the School of Art.

Today the building caught fire. The damage is described as extensive.

I feel heartbroken.

Date: 2014-05-23 10:14 pm (UTC)
ruric: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ruric
May help a bit but the fire crews say they've saved 90% of the building and 7-% of the contents. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-27553056

Date: 2014-05-24 05:30 am (UTC)
ruric: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ruric
Also typo - that should have been 70% of the content!

They're working with the School and student to try and get more out.

I know from my days at English Heritage there's a very fine group of building and materials conservationists in the UK, Europe and internationally who spring into action in these sorts of circumstances.

I still have my fingers crossed that the building and most of the contents can be saved because from the pixs I've see (sadly I never made a visit) it looked magnificent.

Date: 2014-05-24 12:43 am (UTC)
panisdead: (Default)
From: [personal profile] panisdead
I'm so sorry.

I see you've had some updated information, but still.

Date: 2014-05-24 02:48 am (UTC)
twistedchick: Ronan, injured, concerned about E. Weir (Ronan)
From: [personal profile] twistedchick
I remember it from a visit to Glasgow in the 90s -- this is tragic.
Edited Date: 2014-05-24 02:48 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-05-24 03:04 am (UTC)
pandarus: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pandarus
OMFG no! I remember it well - unsurprisingly the Art History Department T St Andrews had class trips to all the major galleries, including the Rennie Mackintosh house. I LOVE his work, and that of his wife - just stunning. What a terrible thing.

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