Milestone for Glasgow School of Art restoration

Master craftsmen Angus Johnston and Martins Cirulis of Laurence McIntosh in the Mackintosh Library prototype. Image credit: McAteerphoto

THE Glasgow School of Art has unveiled a prototype of a section of the iconic Mackintosh Library, which will be restored to its original 1910 design following the devastating fire in 2014.

The process has used information from items retrieved and information gathered in an archaeological survey that was carried out, along with detailed consultation of Mackintosh’s original designs, early photography, letters and other documentation.

Professor Tom Inns, director of The Glasgow School of Art said, “Today marks a hugely significant step in the restoration of the Mackintosh Building. From the outset we said that we would restore the building and restore it well. The creation of this prototype…is underpinned by two years of ground-breaking and hugely detailed research ranging from information discovered in the archaeological survey to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s original designs and paperwork and meticulous designs of every element, profile and joint to 0.5 millimetre accuracy which were created by our design team and then incorporated into a comprehensive set of drawings for the specialist carpenters to work from.

“The challenge was then to convert this research into the physical object. Months of testing and retesting of all aspects of the design and manufacture by (specialist carpenters) Laurence McIntosh working in close partnership with our design team lead Page\Park have culminated in this final prototype. The calibre of the craftsmanship in every aspect of the manufacture is of the highest order and is testament to the skill of the specialist carvers and woodworkers here at Laurence McIntosh.

“For those of you who remember the library as it was in 2014 the biggest change you will notice is the colour. This is how we believe is how the library would have looked in 1910.”

Construction work on the restoration of the fire-damaged Mackintosh Building is being led by Kier Construction Scotland. Gordon Reid, regional business development manager for Kier Construction Scotland said, “The intricate restoration work that we are carrying out at The Mackintosh Building is progressing well – the temporary roof has been removed and the new roof is now complete.  The loggia have been restored and the work to reconstruct the iconic Hen Run is under way. Today marks another milestone in this very special journey.

“Importantly, we have been able to attract a diverse range of new talent to the construction industry to work at this iconic building. Working closely with the local supply chain, specialist conservators and other industry training and employment groups, we have already created 60 once-in-a-lifetime training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities.”