It was a tremendous relief to learn that among the treasures saved from fire at the Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and completed in 1907, was the school’s famous archives, which contained the third largest collection of Mackintosh material (mostly sketches, plans and working drawings). I link here to a marvelous 360-degree moving panorama of the library. It has been lost but firefighters apparently saved enough of it, hacking some of it out by main force, that conservators will be able to rebuild it much as it was, though lacking (for a while) a century’s patina of time. Experts are working to see what else can be saved, hopefully including volumes stacked loosely on the library’s wooden shelving. Much of the building’s famous collection of windows had actually been restored in a project just completed months ago. The British government has pledged millions of pounds to help restore the entire building, most of which has miraculously been saved. In fact, the governments of the UK and Scotland are literally competing for the honor of financing the job – partly because a vote is impending whether Scotland will separate from the UK.
The jolt of losing this building may be ameliorated by how much was not consumed in flame, and by how much that was consumed but may be reconstructed.