David Shrigley and others pay tribute to the Glasgow School of Art

19 June 2018
Reading Time
3 minute read

The Glasgow School Of Art was victim to a devastating fire that has left it “extensively damaged” according to reports. The iconic Mackintosh building, an ode to the genius of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, was undergoing a £35m reconstruction following a fire in 2014, and members of the arts community have paid homage in the wake of the news.

The fire has bought on a wave of sadness, not only for students currently studying, but for alumni, and members of the community who felt not only a functional connection to “The Mack”, but a spiritual one.

On email to It’s Nice That, David Shrigley wrote the following tribute:

“The loss of The Mackintosh Building is devastating for the city of Glasgow. There are not many buildings that are as universally loved and admired. It is (or was) such a beautiful and original piece of architecture. 

I studied at GSA, I taught there and I lived in the city for 27 years. I walked through those strange in-and-out doors thousands of times. I even made my first public artwork on those steps when I was a student in 1989; I’ve been rummaging though boxes today trying to find the photos…

It’s perhaps a good thing to remember that Mackintosh himself always wanted the building to be a working art school not a museum. The art school is the students and their teachers not the building that houses them. In that regard at least, nothing has been lost."

Fashion designer Pam Hogg studied textiles at the GSA and is an honorary doctorate. She sent us the below on email:

“I’ve not been able to put feelings into words since I saw the blazing inferno on the news at 2am Saturday morning, but recently found notes I’d scribbled moments before receiving my Honorary Doctorate in Glasgow last year shows what The Glasgow School of Art personally meant to me.

“Arriving at the Charles Rennie Macintosh building was like landing on another planet. I hadn’t been exposed to anything like it before, the insane design, the irregularities, the unexpected corners, the craftsmanship. It hit me like a shockwave of joy. It was a place that before this moment in time had never existed but where instinctively I knew I’d always wanted to be, it drew me in like a life force, it was the catalyst that was to forge a brand new life.

“It literally changed my life, and many others. It can’t be lost. I’ll do everything I can do to help raise funds for a re-build. I believe Glasgow will not let such an important part of its heritage disappear”.

Other tributes have poured in, including the SNP first minister Nicola Sturgeon who tweeted in support of the fire service, saying: “Such a sad morning in Glasgow. So relieved that there has been no loss of life. And so full of admiration and gratitude for @fire_scot”.

The cost of possible refurbishment and the scale of the damage are yet to emerge.

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