I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn in the news today that the Glascow School of Art,commonly called the Mackintosh Building,has been badly damaged in a major blaze.It is so much a blow for us,book lovers and appreciators of art,as it is for the whole of Glasgow,the school’s staff and students who lost their works in their fire.
Incidentally I remember last year,while I was writing a post about the most spectacular libraries in the world,I immediately fell in love with the GSoA’s library when I saw it for the first time.There was an antique,very dignified yet unspeakably modern style about it.I was thus moved upon seeing the pictures of the school on fire in the online papers.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh,himself a student of the Glascow School of Art in 1883,was appointed in 1897 to design the building which was completed 12 years later.It is considered by many to be his masterwork.What made him stand out from the other architects was his inclination towards Japonism.The extract below which I found on Wikipedia can better help you understand his style:
This style was admired by Mackintosh because of: its restraint and economy of means rather than ostentatious accumulation; its simple forms and natural materials rather than elaboration and artifice; the use of texture and light and shadow rather than pattern and ornament. In the old western style, furniture was seen as ornament that displayed the wealth of its owner and the value of the piece was established according to the length of time spent creating it. In the Japanese arts furniture and design focused on the quality of the space, which was meant to evoke a calming and organic feeling to the interior.
If luckily there were no casualties,the United Kingdom has,on the other hand,lost one of its most beautiful buildings,a national treasure even; the Royal Incorporation of British architects voted it the best designed building by a British architect in 170 years.It will surely be rebuilt exactly as it was,but the fact still is that along with today’s fire,part of history has vanished.