Fire destroys Glasgow School of Art masterpiece

May 23, 2014 by  

Fire has destroyed Glasgow’s unique School of Art designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

A projector in the basement  exploded around 12.30 today and the masterpiece was set ablaze.  Firefighters were still dousing the fire at 6pm and were expected to be on site for hours after that with three aerial rescue pumps in use.

Appliances from across Glasgow and West Central Scotland were at the scene within four minutes of the first 999 call. Search and rescue teams entered the building wearing breathing apparatus and led a number of people to safety. But no one was injured.

Said Chief Officer Alasdair Hay: ‘This is likely to be a protracted incident and crews have been working extremely hard to tackle what is clearly a very significant fire.  The priority throughout this operation has been to protect life but salvage operations are also underway.’

Neil Baxter, Secretary of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland said: ‘This is the loss of a dear friend. It is desperate. People have been crying in the streets of Glasgow and throughout the world. The loss is beyond belief.’

Muriel Gray, chairman of the Board of Directors of the School said: ‘This is a double blow and couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Today was the last day for students to hand in work for their degree shows. While it is a nightmare and there are a lot of very upset people here, everyone is incredibly supportive.’

Just hours before, the new £50 million Seona Reid Building across the street, won the AJ100 Building of the Year Award 2014. The unanimous choice of the judges, The Steven Holl designed building was recognised as the finest to be completed by any of the UK’s top 100 practices during the past year.

Stuart Robertson, Director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society  said the blaze and the loss of the building and its contents was ‘a human tragedy.’

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