If you’d listened hard enough a couple of weeks ago on May 23 you’d have heard a collective gasp sweep across Great Britain as the news spread that a fire had taken hold of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building on Renfrew Street in Glasgow, a much-loved and iconic piece of Scottish architecture. A campaign has since been launched to restore the building to its former glory, but in the meantime, former alumni and students of the school have created the Mac Photographic Archive, a brilliantly interactive website allowing contributors to click freely around different parts of the building and to publish their own photographs of the interior.
Lizzie Malcolm, the former student who created the website, explains: “A current Google search will return a myriad of images of the exterior of the building. However, it is the intention of this website to concentrate on gathering a comprehensive record of the interior of the building, from the people who have used it since its completion in 1909. Users can tag their photos with the floor and room in which the photograph was taken, estimate the date and annotate accordingly.”
It’s a fitting tribute to the building, allowing users to admire Mackintosh’s handiwork as well as serving as a kind of educational accompaniment to the school’s grounds. Black and white photographs of students painting in the studios from 1909 sit alongside Instagram shots of golden light streaming through stairways and corridors taken only months ago, creating a fantastic overview of the century of people who’ve worked with its walls. We’re looking forward to seeing the restoration process finished, but this is as good a place-keeper as any.
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