Society of Architectural Historians conference to explore Glasgow’s history and heritage

mackintosh-buildingOver 500 architectural historians, architects, conservationists and others from around the globe will meet in Glasgow for the 70th annual international conference of the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH).

The conference will run from June 7–11 at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) and marks the first time SAH has met outside North America in over 40 years.

SAH conference local chair, Marina Moskowitz of the University of Glasgow, said: “We’re delighted to welcome SAH members to Glasgow, recognizing the city’s rich architectural heritage, which seems particularly fitting during Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage, and Archaeology.

“The paper sessions feature an international roster of speakers, and the conference also features a wide variety of public tours and events that showcase everything from Glasgow’s best-known architects, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson to Scotland’s vernacular and industrial heritage.”

Aileen Crawford, head of conventions at Glasgow Convention Bureau, said: “It is a privilege to welcome the Society of Architectural Historians to Glasgow for what will be its first-ever visit to Scotland. As well as enjoying an international reputation as a world-class conventions centre, Glasgow is globally renowned for the legacies of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson.

“This milestone meeting for SAH will celebrate the city’s rich architectural heritage and give delegates the chance to experience some of the treasures of our built environment; from the Glasgow School of Art, City Chambers and Queen’s Cross Church to the Barony Hall, Kibble Palace and our state-of-the-art Technology and Innovation Centre.”

The conference kicks off on June 7—Mackintosh’s 149th birthday— with the symposium ‘Mackintosh: Materials & Materiality’ presented with the Glasgow School of Art (GSA). This public program will examine the material aspects of Mackintosh’s work by looking at several restoration projects underway.

Pamela Robertson, professor emerita at the University of Glasgow, will deliver the keynote, and speakers will represent four major Mackintosh projects, including the GSA. This event is open to the public. Ticket details can be found at

Brian Park of Page\Park Architects will give the conference’s introductory address, ‘The Architects Who Made Glasgow’. His talk will provide conference delegates with a whistle-stop tour of the city’s origins and architectural history and set the context for the work of Glasgow’s great architects. For over 20 years Page has been involved as a conservation architect for the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building, including planning the reconstruction following the 2014 fire.

SAH members will present new research on the history of the built environment during the paper session portion of the conference on June 8 and June 9. Sessions covering Scottish topics include ‘Landscape and Garden Exchanges between Scotland and America’ and ‘A Narrow Place: Architecture and the Scottish Diaspora’.

On June 8, SAH will delve into the latest developments in the restoration of the Mackintosh building at the GSA with the roundtable ‘State of the Mack’. Dr. Robyne Calvert, Mackintosh Research Fellow at the GSA, will moderate the discussion and panellists will include experts working across the project from Page\Park Architects, Historic Environment Scotland, and the GSA. This roundtable is sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland.

Conference delegates will experience the works of Mackintosh and ‘Greek’ Thomson, along with those of other architects, on 33 architecture tours presented throughout the duration of the conference. Local experts from the academic, heritage, and cultural sectors will lead tours in Glasgow and nearby locations such as New Lanark and Edinburgh. All tours are open to the public.

The SAH Glasgow Seminar, ‘Making and Re-Making Glasgow: Heritage and Sustainability’, will be held at Mackintosh’s Queen’s Cross Church on June 10. The seminar will explore how local identity can be cultivated around the city’s built heritage, how Glasgow might benefit from a culture economy that looks to both the past and the future, and how preservation interests can be aligned with development pressures.

The program will feature a screening of the short film (Re)Imagining Glasgow by local artist Chris Leslie and speakers from University of Glasgow, Historic Environment Scotland, Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, National Trust for Scotland, and Glasgow Museums. The SAH Glasgow Seminar is sponsored by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and Historic Environment Scotland. This event is open to the public and tickets may be purchased at

SAH will celebrate the close of the conference with ‘The Architects’ Birthday Party’ on the evening of June 10. This year is the bicentenary of the birth of ‘Greek’ Thomson, Mackintosh’s 149th birthday, and the 150th birthday of the renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The festivities will take place at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens’ iconic Kibble Palace.

For more information on the SAH 2017 Glasgow conference, please visit

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