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Fears grow for Glasgow School of Art as architect warns of ‘black hole’ rebuild

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June 22 2018

Fears grow for Glasgow School of Art as architect warns of ‘black hole’ rebuild
Fears are growing for the structural integrity of the Glasgow School of Art may collapse ‘without warning’ after a devastating fire shattered masonry and weakened structural supports, particularly at the east and west gables.

The warnings come as an architect warned that any moves to rebuild the school would be the equivalent of ‘throwing money into a black hole’, casting doubt on the £100m figure bandied around in the media for any prospective replica.

Appearing on BBC2’s Timeline professor Alan Dunlop said: “I don’t necessarily think that rebuilding it as it was, and I don’t think you could do it anyway, would be the best thing to recognise and celebrate the man (Mackintosh).

“Building regulations have changed along with safety, security and disabled access requirements. If you’re talking about a serious replication of the Mackintosh building you would be throwing money into a black hole.”

Many fixtures and fittings salvaged from the fire four years ago remain in storage, including a replica of the iconic library which has already been assembled and rebuilt at great expense.


#1 Posted by JS on 22 Jun 2018 at 10:37 AM
Alan Dunlop, yet again, proclaiming his opinions and supposition as 'fact'.

UR should know better than to phrase this article in a way which suggests Dunlop's views are any more accurate than the £100 million in the media...Dunlop's pronouncements are being bandied about as much as anything.
#2 Posted by Hole on 22 Jun 2018 at 10:46 AM
#1 He's right. It's not an Unesco World Heritage Site worth restoring at any given cost.

Time to move on giving space for a proper landmark. Also please get rid of this ugly af dental hospital next block please.
boaby wan
#3 Posted by boaby wan on 22 Jun 2018 at 10:47 AM
pipe doon dunlop, yer no getting the job to redesign the art school this time either!
Nothing like a massive ego thinking he could do better...
John Russell
#4 Posted by John Russell on 22 Jun 2018 at 11:24 AM
I was wondering if the contents of the mac building had been emptied after the fire of 2014. The board room and the principals office all had original mackintosh furniture
#5 Posted by JS on 22 Jun 2018 at 11:33 AM
#2, no he's not 'right'. He has an opinion (which is perfectly valid) however it is, indeed, opinion and nothing more at this stage. The costs of a rebuild, the works required, and the time it would take are all unknowns at this point in time.

The point I am making is that Dunlop (and in the writing of this article, albeit accidentally, UR) is acting as though his opinion is MORE than that, and that contradictory views are inaccurate.
The Muriel Gray Fanclub
#6 Posted by The Muriel Gray Fanclub on 22 Jun 2018 at 11:41 AM
But Muriel said it was! She said so. So she did. The Glasgow School of Art Forever! It will NEVER Die!
We love you Muriel!
Walt Disney
#7 Posted by Walt Disney on 22 Jun 2018 at 12:27 PM
Firstly the works would fall under the classification of repair and reinstatement and secondly as an 'A' listed building it would be exempt from the majority of planning and building control regulations. Provision for disabled access, fire control / compartmentation etc. would be at the discretion of the owner.

Any other city in the world would only currently be considering a complete reinstatement of the original. Thankfully (st)architects aren't the decision makers, they are just the draughtsmen.
#8 Posted by JS on 22 Jun 2018 at 12:29 PM
#7, hear hear.
#9 Posted by Enough... on 22 Jun 2018 at 12:30 PM
Haven't we all had enough of Alan Dunlop and his crusade to force his personal opinion down everyone's throats?
His agenda is so transparent it's ugly...
Trombe Wall
#10 Posted by Trombe Wall on 22 Jun 2018 at 13:11 PM
Does this mean we aren't building the bridge to NI?
Stephen R
#11 Posted by Stephen R on 22 Jun 2018 at 14:12 PM
Fears grow from who? No offence but Architects knowledge on rebuild costs; especially ones who hold this great building with disdain are unreliable at the best of times! :)

Yes blah blah maybe Mackintosh wouldn't rebuild or be a 'copyist' as Dunlop exclaims! however I do believe that if Mackintosh knew the impact his own building were to have on the community (architectural/arts/wider) etc. he would be more than happy! he would probably even design a phase 3 to extend doon oan tae Sauchiehaw street anaw!

The Mac in its original form is not just a building! its is an experience! One that those who have never experienced it should be gifted it (£100m...£200m...whatever) Important buildings like this are already too out of reach for weegies! Bring it back! bells and whistles!

ps. i'm sure the building had a working lift!! (albeit from memory only served some floors, and accessibility improvements could be better integrated this time!)

pps. rflmao @ The Muriel gray fanclub
#12 Posted by Dave on 22 Jun 2018 at 14:44 PM
Alan Dunlop really needs to rein it in (I would use stronger words but UR probably wouldn't let me post it!). He is one architect (and not a conservation architect either, may I add) and his views on the Mack are well known after the previous fire. One would almost think he is position himself to design a replacement building - god forbid we have another Radisson monstrosity
The Flâneur
#13 Posted by The Flâneur on 22 Jun 2018 at 15:10 PM
Since a certain person clearly has no grasp of decorum I thought it best to simply re-post what I posted on the Glasgow School of Art: What next for the Mac? thread yesterday (with a wee addendum) particularly as others have previously and successfully tackled the issue of regulations and technology moving on:

#23 Posted by The Flâneur on 21 Jun 2018 at 12:57 PM

Given some of the very public pronouncements over the last few days, by people who might be best advised to keep their counsel, I thought it might prove helpful to provide a very brief list of some famous buildings which have been faithfully reconstructed (NB this list is no way exhaustive):

The Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. (Otherwise known as the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona the pavilion, one of the seminal buildings of the modern movement, was demolished 1930 and reconstructed in 1986 using the original plans in combination with historic photographs.)

The White House, Washington. (Burnt down on 24 August 1814 when the British Army sacked Washington during the British-American War of 1812 -15. In 1948 it was declared in imminent danger of collapse so was entirely reconstructed internally from 1949-1952 with President Truman moving back in on 27 March 1952.)

St Mark’s Campanile, Venice (Severely damaged by lighting in 1388, set on fire and destroyed in 1417 again seriously damaged by a fire in 1489. Repaired and restored due to further damage caused by the earthquake of March 1511. Damaged again by lighting in 1548, 1565, 1658, 1745, 1761, 1762 before being finally fitted with a lightning conductor in 1776. The tower collapsed and was destroyed on 14 July 1902 then being entirely reconstructed between 1902 and 1912)

The Fine Arts Pavilion, San Francisco, by Bernard Maybeck. (Originally constructed for, and one of the few surviving structures of, the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition. As the pavilion was only temporary by 1964 the fabric had become unstable resulting in demolition and, with the exception of the structural frame, all the building fabric, including sculpture and ornamentation, was completely renewed in 1965. The dome, rotunda, colonnades and lagoon were again restored in 2010 when a seismic retrofit was carried out).

The Frauenkirche, Dresden (Built between 1726 and 1743 the dome collapsed on 15 February 1945 following the firebombing of Dresden by both the RAF and the USAF and subsequent firestorm which started two days beforehand. After the reunification of Germany, reconstruction started in 1994 with the exterior completed by 2004, and the interior a year later. The church was reconsecrated on 30 October 2005. In particular, the new gilded orb and cross on top of the dome, which was forged in London, is a symbol of reconciliation between the UK and Germany.)

I’m very confident people can supply others (if I had more time I’d do it myself); however, the point is I very much doubt that anyone is sorry that these destroyed landmarks were reconstructed or would argue that their cultural impact has been lessened as a result.

Heal the Mack, heal Glasgow…

PS All my thoughts and best wishes are with the conservation team about whom I am deeply concerned.

PPS I am also most concerned to see the comment from the Leader of the Council in today’s Evening Times with Building Control indicating that part of the building has moved by about six inches. That is hardly surprising given how unstable the stone gables will be. Therefore, I hope the team on site are safe.
#14 Posted by Billy on 22 Jun 2018 at 17:39 PM
Any attempt not to rebuild would be met with a fierce public reaction. A vote loser to any councillors or MPs who do not support. Any other city or country would ensure it happened. I could not imagine Barcelona not considering a rebuild of any Gaudi building that suffered a similar misfortune. It brings people to the city and they generate money and jobs, filling hotel rooms, restaurants.....
#15 Posted by E=mc2 on 22 Jun 2018 at 18:04 PM
Alan Dunlop is clearly a fine draughtsman, but I always thought the design ability and capability sat with Gordon Murray however. Not to confuse presentation with product.

I think him for his opinions. Let’s give others some air now.
Steven Mulheron
#16 Posted by Steven Mulheron on 22 Jun 2018 at 20:44 PM
Should use the new annex to keep the school going while building a new interpretation of the building on the banks of the Clyde at Dalmarnock using the same stone. It would look lovely.
#17 Posted by James on 25 Jun 2018 at 12:06 PM
I notice that efforts have been made to avoid the question of who is responsible. Surely the current Board, various members who have appeared on media must take responsibility. After failing to have a working sprinkler system in 2014 which was highlighted as probable cause for the fire then Innis was quoted as saying 'lessons were learnt.' Yet during the refurbishment there was still no system capable of fire suppression during what is a particularly vulnerable period. The Board is de facto guilty of criminal negligence.
#18 Posted by Billy on 25 Jun 2018 at 21:11 PM
I am still puzzled that it was a unpaid member of the public who raised the alarm and not one of the people paid to patrol and caretake the building.
#19 Posted by Kieran on 26 Jun 2018 at 10:10 AM
Ooot watchin the World Cup in the Pub ....... (Allegedly)

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