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GSA redevelopment unveiled

September 17 2010

GSA redevelopment unveiled
Plans for the first phase of redevelopment at the Glasgow School of Art campus have been released today.

Designed by New York based Steven Holl Architects in collaboration with local practice JM Architects and Arup Engineering, the new building will replace the Newbery Tower and Foulis building directly opposite Mackintosh’s acclaimed masterpiece on Renfrew Street.

The team were appointed last September following an international design competition with the aim of enhancing teaching, learning and research facilities available to GSA students and staff.

Publicly accessible exhibition and interpretation spaces will also be fashioned under the plans.

Holl has taken inspiration from the inventive manipulation of light evidenced in the 1909 Art School to arrange studios and workshops with natural side and top light, supplemented by “driven voids” which conduct natural light and ventilation direct to the buildings core.

Holl said, "The site opposite the Mackintosh Building calls for a unique, inspiring and stimulating twenty-first century architecture with a great sensitivity to light, detail, and material.  The new Glasgow School of Art Building will provide contemplative space for individual creativity and thought, and spaces of collective interaction for students, staff and the Garnethill community."

Below a full description of the new space has been provided by the GSA:

“The design began with the Studio space - the core of teaching and making art. Well-proportioned studio and workshop volumes are arranged in plan and section with ideal top and side light. They are adaptable with potential for individual studios to open into larger groups, and arranged with functionally adjacent support spaces in rhythm with the studio/workshop volumes. They are illuminated with north light, with shafts of warm south, east or west light. Studios are generally positioned on the north façade provided with large inclined north facing glazing to maximize access to the desirable high quality diffuse north light throughout the academic year. Spaces that do not have a requirement for the same quality of natural light, are located on the South façade (opposite the Mackintosh building) where access to sunlight can be balanced with the occupants; needs and the thermal performance of the space through application of shading or informed shaping of openings.

”Centralised facilities for the GSA campus, including exhibition spaces, seminar spaces, digital media and the “Window on the Mackintosh” centre are located on the ground floor in a carefully considered balance that forges an identity as an academic building, for the school and students, but that also invites the public inside.

”Located one level below, a 300-seat lecture theatre has direct access to the lobby as well as the centralized workshop and associated assembly spaces. Immediately above the ground floor are the school directorate and administrative offfces (on the south) whilst studio space occupies the entire north side at this level and moving up through the building.  The new GSA refectory is located on level 2 above the offices, bringing the entire school up and into the building on a daily basis.

”Along the South elevation, at the same height as the Mackintosh main studios, there is a landscape loggia in the form of a Machair that gives the school an exterior social core open to the city. Natural vegetation with some stonework routes water into a small recycling water pond which will also reflect dappled sunlight onto the ceiling inside.  Meanwhile inside the ‘Driven Void’ light shafts deliver natural light through the depth of the building providing direct connectivity with the outside world through the changing intensity and colour of the sky.

”The exterior of the building will be coated in a thin skin of matte glass referencing Mackintosh’s stone skin on the 1909 building. The material, used to stunning effect by Steven Holl Architects on the Vanke Centre Chenzen, will soften the light on the Mackintosh building ensuring the studios continue to benefit from the quality of light as envisaged by the designer.”

Further images of the project are available to view on the GSA's Flickr site.
A landscape loggia will give the school an external social core
A landscape loggia will give the school an external social core
The exterior of the development is to be coated in a thin skin of matte glass
The exterior of the development is to be coated in a thin skin of matte glass


#1 Posted by jt on 19 Sep 2010 at 09:36 AM
H+M Fanclub
#2 Posted by H+M Fanclub on 19 Sep 2010 at 12:46 PM
That and Rosetti pharmaceutical research building by Herzog + de Meuron, Basel
#3 Posted by Godard on 20 Sep 2010 at 13:19 PM
Its not where you take things from—it's where you take them to...
#4 Posted by Windolene on 20 Sep 2010 at 14:09 PM
Matte glass, in Glasgow? A window cleaner's delight.
#5 Posted by JR on 20 Sep 2010 at 14:49 PM
Wow, only 4 comments in and we are discussing where it has been copied from, and how the wrong type of glass is being proposed because the window cleaners might not like it?

Standard of debate if this is the norm is pathetic.

For what it's worth, the images available so far make it difficult to draw any conclusions, but the little internal model shots I have seen would seem to suggest the spaces created should be interesting, at the least.

Why do we insist on bringing architectural debate down to the lowest common denominator? Woe betide them if they decide on a flat roof - 'flat roofs in Glasgow, haw haw dont they know it rains here?'

Gie's a break.

unlimited nations
#6 Posted by Windolene on 20 Sep 2010 at 16:18 PM
Or possibly people don't think so far it's that great, nor choice of material, after careful study beyond what is published here?

So really, why bother wi' mair discussion?

Of course if you want to give us an in depth critique feel free.

Start with the garden.
#7 Posted by jt on 20 Sep 2010 at 20:10 PM
Thank you for sharing your expertise with us JT, were grateful for the insight you have provided. Yes the spaces should be "interesting" it is the most important building to be built in glasgow in 100 years, I was expecting a bit more than that though. Maybe a bit of original thought and graphic representations worthy of such a commission, something more than a college of building and printing first year ONC course.
#8 Posted by JR on 21 Sep 2010 at 09:34 AM
Interesting assertion the this is the most important building in Glasgow in 100 years JT. How come? It is a new building opposite a masterpiece, granted but make no mistake that this is an entirely separate entity.

Does that mean that the building(s) that stand there just now were the most important in Glasgow also?

What is it about the proposed new scheme that upsets you so? lack of drawings/images? Were you expecting more images to be released, or for the design to be better generally?

Bear in mind that the procurement of this building is a complicated matter, to be steered through various committees and groups before being taken to planning with it's negotiations and then on to building the thing. The design team aren't sitting there all this time working on those 3 or 4 images, this is only a press release.

A press release that then gets savaged for having gardens and matt glass. I suspect there is a large percentage of people who would only be happy if the big man himself was risen from the dead and plonked in front of a drawing board for his greatest commission to date.

Windolene - why is the matt glass a problem? Honestly would like to know.

Why bother with more discussion? I always thought discussion was a good way of getting points across, and possibly coming to a greater understanding of other people's views and opinions, instead of criticising 1 small element and leaving it at that.

The garden, for what it's worth, doesn't instantly sound like the greatest thing ever, but then I haven't been fortunate enough to see any images of it and how it will be realised. Do you have a link to anything?
david nimmo
#9 Posted by david nimmo on 21 Sep 2010 at 10:48 AM
Discussion of any sort is better than no discussion, and it is hardly surprising that there is disappointment when so little information is given. Let's be honest, the images don't look brilliant, even the others from the Flickr site. The materials may well be much more sophisticated in the flesh and that sort of thing isn't easy to render in any form. The sketches could have been done no less than 90 years ago by Le Corbusier. The text about the first floor 'machair' social space open to the city makes me shudder involuntarily because you don't have to look too far to see all the desolate 60's podium and slab spaces that noone has ever used or would ever want to. But if it works, great, because this building has to be good for Glasgow's sake, or we will be perceived as a city which just picks its architecture by the name on the label.
#10 Posted by Wubbelu on 21 Sep 2010 at 15:10 PM
"The site opposite the Mackintosh Building calls for a unique, inspiring and stimulating twenty-first century architecture with a great sensitivity to light, detail, and material. The new Glasgow School of Art Building will provide contemplative space for individual creativity and thought, and spaces of collective interaction for students, staff and the Garnethill community." What went wrong after that? the site does not call for competition of the masterpiece opposite, but it does call for a building that contributes to this famous and important site. Why do we end up with an extruded 1st year student model that has no connectivity or dialogue with its environment? The issue is not about choice of materials; it is about how the URBAN REALM is related to and contributed to.
C Miller
#11 Posted by C Miller on 21 Sep 2010 at 15:28 PM
It is about all these things, urban realm appropriatness, materiality, originality, innovation, fitness for purpose and much else. The fact that there is likely to be committees involved has nothing at all to do with it. Holl is supposed to be a vastly experienced architect with international credentials and used to delivering complex projects. Although I am not from Glasgow I like many Scottish people want this building to be great and Holl to deliver something great and live up to the reason why he was chosen. Sadly this looks dull and cliched, with no effort at all being put into the first delivered images of this important new building or any idea of what it is for from the interior shots, it could be a gallery, not a working building. The section is significant yet it is drawn half heartedly with stupid arrows for the brainless
The materiality is important and like the earlier posters, looks like a building we have all seen before. One indeed by Holl himself as was pointed out.
#12 Posted by Windolene on 21 Sep 2010 at 16:52 PM

Buy shares in a window cleaning company NOW!
C Miller
#13 Posted by C Miller on 21 Sep 2010 at 17:10 PM
Goodness, I see what you mean!
#14 Posted by icameron on 22 Sep 2010 at 23:02 PM
Sorry folks but it aint doing anything for me. The visuals certainly don't flatter the design either. Another example of a big name architect putting signature before context and location. This for me is very very not for Glasgow.

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