Indications are that after the horrible fire today in Scotland, the Glasgow School of Art’s famous Rennie Mackintosh Building has survived, with, as fire officials put it, 90 percent of the building structure considered “viable” and 70 percent of the interior (whether this refers to the interior structure and design or the furniture and art works, I don’t know) has been saved. This is something close to a miracle, but it only serves to deepen the tragedy of the destruction, the apparent destruction (I say with forlorn hope), of the library and of the Mackintosh archives themselves – possibly including the documentation of what is – was, I am afraid – a most comprehensively documented piece of architecture. I am hopeful that much of what is beloved in the building can be meticulously reproduced but the books, manuscripts, drawings, detailed plans of other Rennie works – kaput. What a sad day not just for Scotland and lovers of architecture, but the world.
[I hear that though the library is lost the archives are saved, some furniture from the library was saved, various doors and other artisanal wonders were hacked off by brave firemen to serve as models for rebuilding. Some valuable art works were on loan.]