Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Glasgow School of Art Burns

Fire destroyed the famous library in the building designed and built in 1907 - 1909 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh for the Glasgow School of Art this morning.  The fire started when a slide projector exploded in a basement classroom and spread quickly.  The building was packed with students at the time.  Remarkably, the building was safely evacuated and no one was hurt.

Due to heroic work by the local fire department, most of the building survived and can be repaired.  The library which was the centerpiece of Mackintosh's design, and a major masterpiece of early modern architecture and design, is a total loss.

Buildings are ultimately as mortal as the people who build them; and yet, we would like our monuments to be at least a little less mortal than we are.  We would like them to survive us and that our great grandchildren could see them.  That's why we build in the first place, why buildings will always mean more to us than a place to get out of the rain.  Time and chance will have their way with our buildings, just as they do with us.

Here are some pictures of the library of the Glasgow School of Art, of what was lost today.

My deepest sympathies for so great a loss to the students, faculty, and staff of the GSA.  I wish them well.

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