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Extension To Glasgow School Of Art

Part 2 Project 2001
James Buchanan
Cardiff University, UK
The project is located in the Garnethill area of Glasgow and occupies the same city block as Charles Rennie Mackintosh's seminal Glasgow School of Art building. The site addresses the busy Sauchiehall St and ascends steeply in a northerly direction, meeting the south facade of the GSOA building. My project proposes that this should be the site of an extension to the school of art.

The building has two primary programmatic elements. Firstly, the building provides new studio/school space for the School of Fine Art, in particular the faculty for Sculpture and Environmental arts. Secondly, the building provides new exhibition spaces and related accomodation for the GSOA collection - an art collection composed of works by Mackintosh (Furniture, watercolours and architectural drawings) and works by other artists associated with the school. In addition to this, there is an archive / Mackintosh resource centre that allows public access to the schools archive.

The project presented a variety of design questions. On an urban level - How can the building root itself within the distinctive Glasgow urban system? How can it establish a dialogue withe the GSOA building? Concerning the spaces within, what should the specific nature of the Mackintosh exhibition spaces be? Also extremely important was how the building related to the GSOA building. Should they be connected in some manner? Can the public realm of the Mackintosh building be extended? I considered these questions to be crucial to the success of the project.

Thusly, the design began from both 'ends'. I began to develop ideas by considering what the atmosphere and the sensual qualities of the spaces should be i.e. by considering appropriate materiality and construction techniques. I also developed these ideas by considering how the building could respond to its location and in particular the strong material identity of Glasgow. The design was also constantly influenced in different ways by the presence of Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art building.

James Buchanan

Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art sits on the ridge of Garnethill on the northern half of a Glasgow city block. The southern half of the block, facing Sauchiehall Street, is at present occupied by a disused cinema and retail units. This student's project proposes that this should be the location of new studio and gallery space for the School of Art.

The design presents a deeply considered response to the implications of working in such a close relationship with one of the acknowledged masterworks of British architecture. Central concerns were with the morphology of the Glasgow urban system, the interpretation of the materiality of the city, the specific nature of exhibition space and the continuation and elaboration of the public realm of the Mackintosh building.

The project was realised to a high level of detail. This is particularly represented in a series of beautifully drawn sections and sectional perspectives that show the principal public spaces and in studies of the material and detail of the external envelope that adapt the traditional sandstone construction of Glasgow to new technical and expressive ends.

The project received the highest mark in the year. In its combination of poetic intent and technical expertise the project represents the particular aspirations of the education at this school.

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