Glasgow School of Art’s fire-ravaged building will be rebuilt

The Mackintosh building was devastated by a second fire last month

The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building will be rebuilt a second time, following a second fire in the last four years that caused significant damage to the renowned structure. The school’s director has quashed any speculation over the future of the building and whether it could be salvaged. 

Known as ‘the Mack’ by Glasgow’s students and residents, the building was set to reopen next year, following a £35 million restoration project. The school’s director, Tom Inns, told The Guardian that it is “critically important that the building comes back as the Mackintosh building”. Before his announcement, there was much speculation about whether the school would undergo this process again.

The fire has left most of the stonework unsteady, enough to raise questions about whether it will survive. It’s still unknown how much can be rescued from the ashy remains. Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, described the fire as “severe and extensive”, and a “devastating blaze”.    

Now, school officials dismissed any suggestions of rebuilding the structure from scratch. This is in an effort to preserve architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s work. Built in the 1890s, the building is regarded as Mackintosh’s masterpiece. It is also considered an integral part of the school’s legacy, as well as of the city of Glasgow. The first fire, which took place in 2014, already raised concerns that the 110-year-old building would not survive. Inns related to the Guardian that costs would be covered by insurers. 

After the initial fire, notable figures in the creative worlds came out to support the art school – artists including Grayson PerryAnish Kapoor, and Jenny Saville created works from debris to go to auction, helping to raise funds for the restoration. At the moment, the school is not requesting support from either the Scottish or UK governments. Though investigators and school officials will work closely together, the fate of the structure is still unclear. Inns told the Guardian he was “confident” about its future.