Timber from US cotton mill used in Glasgow art school rebuild

Some of the Southern yellow pine timber beams which are being used to rebuild the Mackintosh Building. Picture: PA
Some of the Southern yellow pine timber beams which are being used to rebuild the Mackintosh Building. Picture: PA
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Part of the structure of a US cotton mill is being used to rebuild Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building.

Southern yellow pine timber that was reclaimed in the demolition of The Picker Building in Lowell, Massachusetts, has been used to recreate the Japanese-inspired Studio 58 which was destroyed in the building fire three years ago.

Eight beams from Longleaf Lumber were shipped to Scotland at the start of this year and after testing and shaping, the wood was lifted into the building.

Project leaders were delighted to find the wood around the same age as that used in the original Mackintosh construction.

Liz Davidson, senior project manager for the Mackintosh Restoration, said: “Studio 58 is one of the very special spaces in the Mackintosh Building.

“We know that Mackintosh was heavily influenced by Japanese design and in Studio 58 this was seen particularly clearly.

“The original wooden uprights had been made out of American yellow pine which we knew had come from Massachusetts. So when our contractor Kier Construction began the search for replacement timber, they immediately looked into possible sources in the area where the original timber had come from at the turn of the 20th century.

“We were delighted to discover that not only did Longleaf Lumber have the quality yellow pine in the size that we needed, but that the wood had come from a building which had been constructed at the same time as the Mack.”

US company Longleaf Lumber said it was “excited and humbled” to play a part in the restoration.

A spokesman said: “It is fitting that these beams, cut from the grand longleaf pine forests and originally milled for a factory in the birthplace of the American industrial revolution, have been reclaimed and repurposed in a restoration effort that pays homage to an architectural master who was influenced both by nature and the industrial changes of his time.”