Glasgow fire update

Fenestration at the Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. (

Fenestration at the Glasgow School of Art, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. (

The good news is that in addition to money flowing in to repair the Glasgow School of Art that nearly burned down this spring, school officials seem firmly inclined to restore to the original state both the school building, most of which survived the fire, and the Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed library hall that was destroyed.

But you can never be too sure, and, as this piece in the Guardian, “Glasgow School of Art to host Venice conference on rebuilding after fire,” suggests, there remain some who seek to topple such sound sense. On the theory that an excellent copy would be an excellent insult – a “Mockintosh,” in the modernist occult vernacular – they want the school to hire an architect who will ensure that “our era” is represented in the building’s reconstruction. Especially verboten would be restoring the library itself as closely as possible to its original state. Copy the glorious past? How retrograde! Beauty be damned!

Well, let the conference in Venice be held, and let a thousand dunces dance on the head of a pin. But at a proposed second conference in Glasgow just nail down the intelligent initial impulse of almost everybody involved, and get the building rebuilt as Macintosh intended. Nothing less will suffice.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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1 Response to Glasgow fire update

  1. Steven Semes says:

    As the Italians say, it should be restored “dov’era, com’era.” where it was, as it was.


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