Anger as focus turns to cause of blaze that ripped through Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece
Artists and architects in Scotland say that the Glasgow School of Art may be beyond repair after a devastating fire tore through the Art Nouveau landmark on Friday (15 June), the second blaze to hit the historic site in four years. More than 120 firefighters tackled the fire, the cause of which is still unknown. The local artist Nathan Coley, who was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2007, posted on social media: “I’ve gone from despair to absolute rage. How the fuck was this allowed to happen?”
The Glasgow School of Art, which is considered Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece, was completed in 1909. The building was badly damaged in a fire in May 2014 when the east wing was left relatively intact but major parts of the library and west wing were destroyed.
The latest fire, which began on Friday night (15 June) was much worse, with aerial shots showing both wings of the building affected. The blaze came as a major £35m restoration, led by the architects Page Park, was nearing completion. The first phase saw external stonework repaired and the roof replaced before the east wing interiors were restored last year; the library, which housed original fittings by Rennie Mackintosh, was meticulously recreated. The vast conservation project was due to be completed by February 2019.
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