Newsletter - Links - Advertise - Contact Us - Privacy

GSA dismiss ‘rumours, speculation & supposition’ surrounding Mackintosh fire

November 15 2018

GSA dismiss ‘rumours, speculation & supposition’ surrounding Mackintosh fire

The Glasgow School of Art has moved to dispel what it terms to be inaccuracies surrounding its handling of a second major fire at the Mackintosh Building during a presentation to the Scottish Parliament.

In a statement Muriel Gray, chair of the schools board of trustees, said: “The GSA welcomed the opportunity to come to the Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Relations Committee meeting this morning so as to address the rumours, supposition and speculation that have been circulating since the 15 June by sharing the facts with members.

“In particular we were pleased to be able to tackle head on the allegation that there is a causal link between our corporate governance and the occurrence of the second fire when the cause of that fire is not yet known.”

Amongst the points addressed by the school were the absence of a fire suppression system, which it attributed to a lack of ‘suitable’ solutions.

The Scottish Fire & Rescue Service has yet to publish its findings into the disaster but in the meantime the GSA says it remains committed to bringing the building back as a working art school.

Gray concluded: “We have the expertise and the information to rebuild Mackintosh’s masterwork, and there is an exciting opportunity to bring back the Mack at the heart of a major regeneration envisaged for Sauchiehall Street. We will work closely with our local community and the City leadership to help make this vision a reality.”

The intervention follows allegations made during an earlier hearing that flammable insulation had been installed.


#1 Posted by D on 15 Nov 2018 at 14:48 PM
This statement is merely the GSA board and management trying to cover their own behinds, which is rather disheartening as a former student. Mistakes were made, and this is becoming more apparent. Gordon Gibb’s response to this statement was rather entertaining and robust:
#2 Posted by David on 15 Nov 2018 at 18:28 PM
Typical arrogance from GSA. Really hope that the Mackintosh building is removed from their possession after the rebuild has taken place. It would make a wonderful museum for the city and the rest of Scotland.
Nairn's Bairn
#3 Posted by Nairn's Bairn on 16 Nov 2018 at 09:43 AM
It would be great if we could steer a course between blame culture and bottom-covering - allow both client and contractor to accept there may have been mistakes made without hanging them out to dry. Then perhaps things would be more transparent, and we could learn from situations like this rather than just finger-pointing.

Unfortunately given the cultural and financial losses at the Mac that's never going to happen, so we end up with a Board of Trustees insisting their performance was exemplary (and are now offering advice to other bodies), and a contractor who may end up carrying the can as they 'could have done more' (which applies to every building site). I don’t want to stick up for the contractor, but it’s never easy when the client is occupying part of the building you’re working on.

This refusal to even contemplate any hint of responsibility does not reflect well on the Board, but it’s a sign of the times.

#4 Posted by Jamie on 16 Nov 2018 at 11:36 AM
#1 Until the cause of the fire is known, how on earth can there be anything to 'cover up'? It could have been arson for all anyone knows and - whilst that would hardly boost anyone's faith in humanity - it would hardly be the fault of the Board.

#2 It would make a miserable museum in my opinion. It would be lifeless and stuffy, sucking the vitality out of the building, forcing it to become used as something for which it was never intended.

#3, I couldn't agree with you more. A very reasoned, and sound summary of the situation which both GSA and Keir find themselves in. Once the cause is known I suspect it will become apparent that no party (including GCC building control and HES) is without some measure of blame. Suggestions that the entire GSA Board should resign, however, are foolish. If the ship is 'sinking', as these people like to suggest, what an inopportune moment to leave it without an experienced at running the institution) 'crew'.
Dr Syntax
#5 Posted by Dr Syntax on 16 Nov 2018 at 14:13 PM
And what value does Muriel Gray add to the proceedings?
3rd time lucky?
#6 Posted by 3rd time lucky? on 16 Nov 2018 at 14:51 PM
Still waiting for a proper explanation why the sprinklers that were fully funded to be installed well prior to the first fire had never been installed. I believe the given excuse was 'asbestos'. It just didn't really ring very true to be honest as surely whatever was present could have been removed or safely worked around.
Perry Mason
#7 Posted by Perry Mason on 16 Nov 2018 at 15:31 PM
For a proper understanding of the whole stushie why not take an hour and look and learn - straight from the horses mouths.
Make of it what you will. I did feel sorry for P&P between a rock...
#8 Posted by MV on 16 Nov 2018 at 18:02 PM
#6 Its amazing how, given the amount of fires seen recently nationwide, clients are still so resistant to installing sprinklers in their facilities. It often defies belief.
Lets take the decision away from clients: whether its a new build, refurb or anything in between, all buildings should have sprinklers installed as part and parcel of the building regs. High mist systems require smaller tanks than the traditional bulky systems and cause less damage when they are set off. Make it the law and the client wont need to make up excuses. Too many buildings have been razed to the ground, and worse, too many people have died as a result.

Post your comments


All comments are pre-moderated and
must obey our house rules.


Back to November 2018

Search News
Subscribe to Urban Realm Magazine
Features & Reports
For more information from the industry visit our Features & Reports section.