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Devastating Fire Rips Through Glasgow School of Art for Second Time

The blaze which broke out on Friday night appears to have gutted the art school’s Mackintosh building

Glasgow School of Art on fire, 16 June 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Jeff J Mitchell

Glasgow School of Art on fire, 16 June 2018. Courtesy: Getty Images; photograph: Jeff J Mitchell

Glasgow School of Art has been badly damaged by a fire, just four years after another blaze caused extensive destruction. The fire tore through the school’s Mackintosh building at around 11:20pm on Friday. 120 firefighters were called to the scene, with 20 fire engines battling the blaze, pumping in water from the river Clyde. By Saturday morning, the fire had been largely contained.

Peter Heath, deputy assistant chief officer of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said that the fire had ‘seriously and significantly engulfed a large part of the building’. He told the BBC: ‘The building has been extensively damaged.’ The blaze ripped through the building, and even spread to the neighbouring Campus nightclub and the O2 ABC music venue.

The school’s grade-A listed building suffered serious damage during a fire in May 2014, caused by a malfunctioning projector. The Mackintosh’s celebrated art nouveau library was destroyed in the blaze. The building was then the subject of an extensive restoration programme costing between GBP£20-35 million, which was nearing completion. Unlike the 2014 fire, students were not showing degree work in the building this year.

The Mackintosh building dates back to 1909, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh (celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth were held last week). Famous alumni of the school include Claire Barclay, Karla Black, Christine Borland, Martin Boyce, Douglas Gordon, David Shrigley and Simon Starling.

Paul Sweeney, the MP for Glasgow North East said the building was ‘the most architecturally important building in Glasgow’, and hoped that restoration efforts could overcome the setback. ‘We cannot lose this building,’ he said.

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