Major step in Mackintosh library’s rebuild as prototype unveiled

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The Glasgow School of Art has unveiled a full-size prototype section of the Mackintosh Library as it is set to return to its original 1910 design.

• READ MORE: The mission to resurrect the GSA’s Mackintosh library

Master carpenter Angus Johnston with a full size Tulip wood prototype section of the 1910 Charles Rennie MacKintosh designed library. Picture: SWNS

Master carpenter Angus Johnston with a full size Tulip wood prototype section of the 1910 Charles Rennie MacKintosh designed library. Picture: SWNS

The prototype is part of a project to raise the institution from the ashes following a devastating fire which ripped through the building in 2014.

The iconic Mackintosh Building, which houses the school, was the victim of a disastrous blaze while students were preparing for their degree show.

While about 90 per cent of the structure was declared “viable”, the blaze tore through the west wing of the 108-year-old grade A-listed building.

It destroyed the Mackintosh Library which is thought to be one of the finest examples of art nouveau in the world.

Master carpenters Angus Johnston and Martins Cirulis with a full size Tulip wood prototype section of the 1910 Charles Rennie MacKintosh. Picture: SWNS

Master carpenters Angus Johnston and Martins Cirulis with a full size Tulip wood prototype section of the 1910 Charles Rennie MacKintosh. Picture: SWNS

Six months in the making, a prototype has been used to test and retest each aspect of the design and manufacture of the centrepiece of the Mackintosh restoration.

A section of the library was unveiled on Friday at the workshops of specialist carpenters, Laurence McIntosh.

While researching the project, experts used findings from an archaeological survey and a consultation of Mackintosh’s original designs.

The challenge was then to translate the mainly 2D imagery into the 3D prototype.

Architect Natalia Burakowska with a full size Tulip wood prototype section of the 1910 Charles Rennie MacKintosh designed library. picture: SWNS

Architect Natalia Burakowska with a full size Tulip wood prototype section of the 1910 Charles Rennie MacKintosh designed library. picture: SWNS

• READ MORE: Glasgow School of Art fire: Mackintosh library lost

Professor Tom Inns, Director of The Glasgow School of Art, said the unveiling marked a “hugely significant step in the restoration of the Mackintosh Building”.

He said: “From the outset we said that we would restore the building and restore it well.”

He added that the creation of the prototype was underpinned “by two years of ground-breaking and hugely detailed research”.

“The calibre of the craftsmanship in every aspect of the manufacture is of the highest order.

“It is testament to the skill of the specialist carvers and woodworkers here at Laurence McIntosh.

“For those of you who remember the library as it was in 2014 the biggest change you will notice is the colour.

“This is how we believe is how the library would have looked in 1910.”

David Macdonald of Laurence McIntosh said: “This is a wonderful project to work on.

“We are privileged to be working as part of a team of people who are passionately committed to restoring the jewel in the crown of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s designs.”