‘Invaluable’ Mackintosh architectural drawings donated to GSA

Prof George Cairns (left) and Prof Tom Inns (right) looks at some of the special drawings donated to the GSA. Photo: Alan McAteer
Prof George Cairns (left) and Prof Tom Inns (right) looks at some of the special drawings donated to the GSA. Photo: Alan McAteer

A set of architectural drawings of the Mackintosh Building have been donated to the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) and will inform its ongoing restoration work.

The drawings, which are the most comprehensive of their type in existence, will be used in the restoration of the Mackintosh Building and be a resource for academics, students and the public.

The set of 22 “A1” size drawings, most at 1:100 scale, were made by George Cairns whilst he was undertaking a Phd at The Mackintosh School of Architecture at the GSA in the early 1990s. They are of the School as it was completed in 1909, as accurately as could be determined from available records.

Cairns, who is now Adjunct Professor at QUT Business School, Brisbane, is visiting Glasgow for the inaugural Leverhulme International Network of Contemporary Studies symposium and he presented the plans to the GSA this week.

“I am delighted to be able to return to Glasgow today after so many years and to be able to donate this set of drawings which I made as part of my doctoral thesis to the GSA,” said Professor Cairns. “I hope very much that they will prove of interest and use to the teams working on the restoration of the Mack and to generations of students who have the privilege to study Mackintosh’s masterpiece.”

The plans will be added to the significant archive of material relating to Mackintosh’s masterpiece that is held in the Archives and Collections at the GSA.

“The GSA Archives and Collections has a wealth of material relating to the Mackintosh Building, but we are always grateful for additions that help to deepen our understanding of the building,” said Alison Stevenson, head of learning at The Glasgow School of Art. “Professor Cairns’ drawings will enrich the architectural information we hold on the building and be an excellent resource for research, teaching and learning.”

The drawings will also used by the Mackintosh Building restoration team in the wake of the devastating fire last May, which destroyed its iconic library.

Glasgow-based architects Page/Park have been tasked with restoring the building, including reconstructing its library, after being selected from a five-strong shortlist for the project, which is expected to cost up to £35m. GSA is still engaged in a bid to raise funds for the restoration.

Liz Davidson, senior project manager for the Mackintosh Building Restoration project, added: “We are keen to continue to access as much information as possible about the building in planning our approach to the restoration. Professor Cairns has already been generous in his time in liaising with the design team and these particularly detailed drawings are going to be an invaluable source of information.”

The drawings will now be digitised and will accessible for research through the GSA’s online archives in the coming months.

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