Saturday, 24 May 2014

Glasgow School of Art

I can't believe that Glasgow School of Art, a Rennie Mackintosh building that I love so much, and which I showed recently here went up in flames yesterday. Flames which started in the basement and travelled right to the top of the building and then out of the roof. Although much of Mackintosh's original furniture and art works have been rescued by the firemen, I am fearful that his fine Japanese style library may be lost. 
What a sad day for such an iconic building!

45 comments:

  1. The news seems positive Rosemary. The report I have read here in France says that they have managed to save 90% of the building and 70 % of the contents.... I hope that means some of the final year students' work as well as the fabric of the actual building. It is a beautiful building, I love it too....lets hope for the best. jx

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    1. Looking at the photos that I have seen and the film it seems unbelievable that it can be saved, but I do hope that they are right. If the students have lost much of their work then that will be a terrible plight for them. How do you replace years worth of design, painting and illustration?

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    2. It does now seem that the library is gone. Interesting that the UK government is offering funds to restore things.... I do hope its not a bribe !

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  2. It's just heart-breaking, Rosemary. I've been following the coverage closely and really hope that the library has at least partially survived. As for the students who have lost work, this is devastating for them, especially those at the end of their degree courses.

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    1. PS It's just been confirmed that the library has been destroyed but the archives saved:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-27556659

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    2. I heard Muriel Gray, a former student at the Art School talking on the news. She has been taken around the building, and although the library has been destroyed, as I suspected it would be, she said it can be recreated.

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  3. A terrible shame, Rosemary, and a great loss to the art world and the world in general.
    To me, the photo you post seems to indicate that there is significant damage to say the least. And water damage can be as bad as fire damage in such situations.
    I am glad no one was killed.

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    1. It is all going to be restored Kirk - it is not the same, but think of Windsor Castle, and the NT properties Uppark and Nymans restored after fires, and you would not know the difference.

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    2. I'm glad that i will be restored.
      I went to Uppark after it reopened and you are right - you could not really tell the difference.

      Mind you, tourists who walk around Dusseldorf don't often realize that most of the old buildings are actually modern restorations because the bulk of the city was destroyed in WWII.

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  4. Dear Rosemary,

    I am so sorry to hear of this loss! Rennie Mackintosh has been an inspiration to me, and I am saddened to think that any of his work could be lost. I hope, at the very least, that Janice's report holds true.

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    1. Dear Mark - I have learnt that it is going to be completely restored - fortunately nobody was killed, but several final year students have lost some of their work, which must be devastating for them.

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  5. As soon as I read the title of your post, I remembered you telling us about it earlier. So terrible this happened. I hope the damage won't be too devastating and a lot will be saved. I hope you tell us more about it later on.
    Marian

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    1. Marian - it is all going to be restored, nobody died, and several students sadly lost their final years degree work.

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  6. Such a shame. This was a place I'd always wanted to visit one day if we were up there. Hopefully the damage is not too great and that much of his work can be saved. Thank The Lord there were no fatalities.
    Patricia x

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    1. Grateful there was no loss of life - the building was full of students at the time which could have been devastating. You will be able to visit one day Patricia - it is all going to be restored.

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  7. How tragic. I wonder how it started!
    I must read up about the building.
    Like Patricia wrote.... thank the lord, no one was hurt.

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    1. Apparently a projector of all things blew up in the basement - it must have had an electrical fault Ishould imagine.
      You can find out about the building on my post that have put a link to.

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  8. Hello Rosemary, What a shock it is to read this terrible story, especially so soon after you had introduced us to the charm and importance of this building. Despite what they saved, from the picture one can tell that this was no minor blaze, and although I am sure they will do a restoration, it still is not the same as the original.

    This fire reinforces the lesson that all historic buildings (and objects) should be give the utmost protection, as there will always be an unavoidable attrition rate due to events like this one.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - it feels like the loss of something very special to me as I have known it since the 1960s and always loved it.
      It will be fully restored apparently, but as you say it is not the same as the original.

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  9. I was so sad when I saw this news as well, it must be so horrible for the people who work and study there. I do so hope that it can be saved and rebuilt. The news about the amount that was retrieved from the building sounds positive, and if they are anything like the National Trust they will have had very good plans for what to rescue and what was less important and will also have very good archive records of what everything looked like, was made of and so on so that if the worst of disasters happens items can be replicated. Not the same I realise as the originals, but better than just being lost forever and no replacements. Lets hope for the best. xx

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    1. Dear Amy - I take comfort from other fire restorations - the NT's Uppark and Nymans, and of course Windsor Castle.

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  10. I read about this on another blog - and felt very saddened at the loss of such a wonderful building. Hopefully it isn't as bad as it looks - fingers crossed.

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    1. The UK government are apparently going to give money towards its complete restoration. Fortunately no lives were lost when you consider the building was full of students.

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  11. I was dismayed to hear this news too as I remember both you and Freda had shown us how wonderful it was. It must have been so hard for the students whose work was lost too. I do hope that wonderful library is not badle damaged too. Sarah x

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    1. The library is lost which I suspected - it was completely made of wood, but apparently the books and archives are saved. It is going to be restored.

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  12. Couldn't believe my eyes when I realised which building was on fire. I have dreamed of going to see this place, it must be such a shock for the people who use this beautiful building. Hope that it will rise again and that enough has been saved. Thank goodness no one was hurt.

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    1. It is a building that I love and know so well, but I take heart from other restorations projects such as Windsor Castle. It could have been a huge tragedy as the building was full of students.

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  13. Oh, I'm sorry for that lovely, old building, Rosemary. Let's hope for the best..

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    1. It was an iconic Art Nouveau building and much loved

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  14. Hello, Rosemary!
    I saw the fire on the TV and I felt very sorry for that lovely building!
    Hopefully, it will be restored, as you say.
    I wish you a nice Sunday!

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment Marie-Anne - I do hope restoration is possible.

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  15. Oh my gosh, what a tragedy!! I am in Maine and didn't know about this fire. I hope no one is hurt. As an antiques dealer I find this news very upsetting.

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    1. I suspect that they will do all that they can Loi to bring it back to life again.

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  16. Terrible, I had read about it but seen no photos. Very very sad.

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    1. Several final year students have lost their final year degree work, but luckily they all got out of the building.

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  17. What a shock, and so very sad to see your pictures of this beautiful building in flames Rosemary. Such a loss to the world of art, but thankfully it seems nobody was hurt. Reading all the comments I see already it has been decided, thankfully, that restoration is possible and will happen. But of course, that is never quite the same as the original fabric of an entity. I wonder if I will see it on the TV news in Australia?

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    1. Dear Patricia - I have been to Windsor Castle since the restoration following their fire and it is true you cannot see any difference, but all the same I could weep at the thought of that wonderful library.

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  18. How awful! I'm glad so much was saved, but still.....what a loss.

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    1. I don't know what will happen to the final year students whose degree work has been lost - Glasgow turns out many fine artists and designers each year.

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    2. This featured in our paper today - a loss for all the artistic world.

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  19. What a tragedy! But I’m a little relieved as I learned from your and others’ comment that the loss was not totally devastating. I hope the building be restored using the original materials found in debris as much as possible.

    I’m charmed by the simplicity but rich expression in Mackintosh’s style. I moved to your old posts to see his favorite Japanese style library. I have seen the similar skylight in the sun room of the old residence of Naoya Shiga in Nara City. Mackintosh’s idea of Japanese style skylight must have been reimported and have been favored and used by the wealthy people at the beginning of 20th century in Japan. You can see the skylight here: Reflections at Takabatake Salon, http://stardustenglishwriting.blogspot.jp/2011/07/reflections-at-takabatake-salon.html. If you are interested in old Japanese residence, Old Residence of Naoya Shiga,http://stardustenglishwriting.blogspot.jp/2011/07/old-residence-of-naoya-shiga.html

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - I am glad that you enjoyed seeing what was the Japanese influenced library that Rennie Mackintosh designed. Now that it has been devastated I am glad that I still have a copy of the virtual tour. I am just about to go and have a look at the two references that you have given me - thank you very much.

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  20. Dear Rosemary, i saw the fire on the TV news, and I felt very sorry for that historical building! So terrible this happened.What a loss!
    Dimi...

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  21. Hideous idea. I know that many very clever things can be done to restore interiors, even if there is some damage. I was frantic when the Cuming Museum in Southwark went up in flames but 98 percent of the contents were saved and I have heard that the damage at the school of art is not as bad as was feared, too.

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  22. What terrible thing to happen, Rosemary. But thankfully nobody was hurt and perhaps some of it can be restored and put back in Mackintosh style order. But still, what a shame. And those students who lost a whole years' work.

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