Glasgow School of Art unveils Morayshire expansion

The Category A listed Blairs Steading. Picture: Contributed
The Category A listed Blairs Steading. Picture: Contributed
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Glasgow School of Art has unveiled a major expansion into a collection of protected 19th century farm buildings on a 13,000-acre estate in Morayshire.

The creation of the art school base has been announced as part a £10 million partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Work underway on Blairs Steading where the GSA's Creative Campus, Highlands and Isalnds will be based. Picture: Annie Wright

Work underway on Blairs Steading where the GSA's Creative Campus, Highlands and Isalnds will be based. Picture: Annie Wright

The £2.5 million horse-shoe shaped “Blairs Steading” campus will become “a world-classic research and teaching facility,” with dedicated studio, exhibition and teaching space.

The complex of buildings, which were designed by Archibald Simpson and date back to the 1830s, has been largely lying empty for the last two decades.

The three largest buildings on the site will become home to the new GSA campus after agreement was reached with the Altyre Estate, which has been in the same family for more than 250 years, HIE and Historic Environment Scotland.

GSA, which already has an overseas campus in Singapore, has announced the Morayshire expansion just weeks after it confirmed it would be expanding its historic Garnethill campus into the former Stow College building.

The partnership between GSA and HIE, announced in January 2015, had already been expected to create 20 new jobs and sustain a further 10 existing posts.

Professor Tom Inns, director of the art school, said: “The development of our presence in Forres, and more broadly in the Highlands and Islands, is integral to helping us achieve our aspiration to be a global leader in studio-based learning and research.

“It will also support collaboration across the disciplines within the art school, as well as with other academic, third-sector and industry partners.”

David Oxley, HIE’s Moray area manager, said: “The Blairs Steading development is bringing previously disused buildings back into productive use as a world class university research and teaching facility.

“It is ideal as a permanent location for the art school’s growing presence in the region. The move forms part of a much larger initiative that will bring social and economic benefits, not just in Moray, but across the Highlands and Islands.”