Parts Open to the Public
Since the Glasgow School of Art is a centre of learning, only one part is open to the public: this is the Mackintosh gallery in the Mackintosh Building. During the Degree show, you are permitted to enter the studios to view the graduating students final projects. Exhibitions are regularly held, so inquire ahead of time for one that grabs your interest, or just come to walk around. The school has two sets of collections: one belonging to Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the other to former staff and students.
Location of the Glasgow School of Art
Located in the city centre neighbourhood of Gamethill, the Glasgow School of Art has been and remains Glasgow's premier art school. It is one of four independent art schools in Scotland. Now defined as a campus, it is made up of 10 buildings spread the city. It is irrevocably associated with Charles Rennie Mackintosh who was not only a student, but also designed its current home.
Architecture of the Building
The late Sixth world of art and architecture in Glasgow was part of the Art Nouveau
movement characterized by flowing lines and organic inspirations. Each region
had its own particular variety, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh was the greatest
practitioner in Scotland. Another version can be found in Antoni Gaudi’s designs
Construction of the Building
Construction began in 1897 and finished in 1909. It was completed in two stages due to financial constraints, so the west wing was only added between 1907 and 1909. A sharp observer would notice the contrast between the two wings. His wife, Margaret MacDonald, participated in the interior work.
His characteristic strong right angles and floral motifs are easily distinguishable. Every aspect of the building bears his mark from the carpets to the lighting fixtures, as the building had to be a seamless whole.
Shaped like the letter E, the building stretches across a whole block. The entrance
is deliberately placed off-centre and leads directly to a museum with a skylight.
You need to climb some steps and pass under an iron arch. The front facade alternates
with large masonry work and windows bringing in natural light.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh - Architect
Born in 1868 and began attending the Glasgow School of Art in 1884. When he arrived, the school had already moved once from Ingram Street to the McLellan Galleries. It would move again in 1899 to its current location on Renfrew Street. Each move was probably occasioned by lack of space as the school grew in terms of student numbers. A competition was held and he won it. This project was his first commission and he would succeed brilliantly.
He would later abandon architecture and focus on watercolour painting until his death in 1928. Many of his designs remained unmade, although his design called ‘House for an Art Lover’ would be built in 1996 in Bellahouston Park and would house the only building belonging to the Glasgow School of Art not located on Renfrew Street. Funny how history is full of little ironies.