Mackintosh Building rebuild begins in earnest after ‘mammoth’ stone-by-stone evaluation

Mackintosh Building rebuild begins in earnest after 'mammoth' stone-by-stone evaluation

View of the central corridor of The Mackintosh Building showing material which needed to be removed

The first phase of physical preparation works for the rebuild of the Mackintosh Building has been completed with massive amounts of fire-damaged material removed from the site, and a complex and meticulous evaluation of the building undertaken, the Glasgow School of Art confirmed yesterday.

Following the completion of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s investigation work within the building in late 2021, the GSA said it was able to focus on the mammoth task of evaluating the building on a stone-by-stone, brick-by-brick basis to identify what could be retained and what needed to be taken down in parallel with undertaking a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) to determine the way forward for the rebuild.

Phase 2 of the project, which includes enabling works for the faithful reinstatement of the building - the preferred option identified in the SOBC, is now underway.

Work is currently nearing completion on the down-takings of the library tower which was rebuilt as part of the 2014 restoration. This should make it possible to reduce the size of the external scaffolding on Scott Street. A complex project, it has taken around eight months and required a precise series of operations, carefully undertaken by expert contractor Reigart.

In the coming months, work will then begin to reinstate the internal structure, which will enable the building to become self-supporting, and to construct a temporary roof.

“Over the last two years we have been working in parallel on clearing and assessing the building and undertaking important preparation work for the rebuild including commissioning a Strategic Outline Business Case which identified Faithful Reinstatement as the most appropriate way forward for the building, and commencing the procurement of the three key teams, who will work with us on the rebuild,” said Professor Penny Macbeth, director of The Glasgow School of Art.

“Our vision for the Mackintosh Building is that it will be home for a GSA Graduate School bringing together our postgraduate students with researchers from across the globe who are making world-leading, innovative work. We will also bring back to their original use key spaces such as the drawing studios, which will be timetabled for all students, recognising that drawing is already a distinctive and defining attribute of the GSA graduate.

“Partnership will be at the heart of the rebuild, and we will continue to collaborate with a wide range of people as we work to bring back this remarkable and inspirational building for our students and staff and a major resource for our community and for the city.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our partners who have been working tirelessly on the building, especially our building contractor, Reigart and our structural engineers, Narro Associates as well as our neighbours who we appreciate are being impacted at every stage of this project.

“We are committed to reinstating the building through retention of as much of the original fabric as possible,” added Eleanor Magennis, GSA director of estates. “The last year has seen us progress the huge task of assessing every part of the building whilst starting the key work streams for the faithful reinstatement. In the coming weeks, we will begin the process of reinstating the internal structure, which supports the building, and construction of the temporary roof structure

“Alongside these preparation works inside the building an expert team has also been developing the strategic brief for the rebuild within the context of our overall Estates Strategy, central to which is a commitment to making a positive contribution to Garnethill and progressing our aim to achieve net zero.”

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