Laurence McIntosh to build full-size prototype Mackintosh Library bay

Visualisation of the reconstructed library based on meticulous research by the design team Image: Page \ Park
Visualisation of the reconstructed library based on meticulous research by the design team Image: Page \ Park

A full-size prototype of a library bay is to be constructed for the Mackintosh Library at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) to help test materials and techniques as part of ongoing restoration work at the fire-damaged building.

Architectural and bespoke joinery experts Laurence McIntosh has been appointed to build the prototype which will be based on the design and specification provided by design team lead architects Page\Park.

The specification has been developed following meticulous research into every aspect of the original design and construction of the library from sources including the GSA’s own Archives and Collections and the original drawings held in the Hunterian.

The work will be undertaken in one the Mackintosh Building studios this spring and is expected to take around two months to complete.

“This a massive step forward for the project and a very exciting moment for the whole team,” said Sarah MacKinnon, project manager Mackintosh Building Restoration.

“The prototype will help us to test the materials and techniques that were used to construct the original library and will be used to construct its replacement.

“This process will provide invaluable, practical information about the supply chain for the Tulip wood, the construction method and the finishing of the wood and this will inform the main library construction, which is scheduled to begin early next year.”

Laurence McIntosh director David MacDonald, added: “It’s the dream contract for any company, but especially for a Scottish team like Laurence McIntosh. This year we’re celebrating 70 years of joinery and cabinet making at the very highest level; we’ve restored prestigious buildings before, but the Mack is something special. Our whole team of over 50 craftsmen, joiners and apprentices is excited to contribute to the Mackintosh legacy, we’re confident our experience, craftsmanship and passion for this project will result in a prototype we can all be proud of.”

Commenting on the appointment, David Logue, partner for Gardiner & Theobald, project managers for the Mackintosh Restoration said: “The commission of Laurence McIntosh to construct the prototype for the Library follows a forensic procurement process managed by Kier Construction Scotland to ensure that the best possible craftsmen and materials were sourced. The commission marks a major milestone for the project, signifying the next step towards the meticulous restoration of this iconic building back to its original design.”

Brian McQuade, managing director for Kier Construction Scotland, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Laurence McIntosh’s expert team as we continue the restoration of this world-renowned building.

“We have extensive experience in delivering internationally important heritage projects and we know the vital part specialist contractors play in the success of these schemes. With the Mackintosh Building restoration, we are providing a range of unique opportunities for trade SMEs and apprentices, including these very specialist crafts. We hope that seeing this iconic building brought back to life will inspire young people to follow a career in this important industry.”

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