Celebrating Mackintosh

October is the month of the annual Mackintosh Festival. GSA staff have organised several great activities including talks by several of our Restoration Research Team members.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh, ‘Autumn’, 1894. From ‘The Magazine’, November 1894. GSA Collection MC/G/6.

In addition to the delightfully cool, crisp autumnal weather, we especially welcome October at Glasgow School of Art as our students return and the campus becomes a hive of creative activity. We therefore thought it a particularly felicitous time to be launching this blog, which will highlight some of the research and activities related to the restoration and reconstruction of the Mackintosh Building (which we will refer to henceforth with our affectionate sobriquet ‘The Mack’).

October is also the month of the annual Mackintosh Festival. Each year the Glasgow Mackintosh group celebrates Charles Rennie Mackintosh (and company!) through a programme of talks, events, tours and exhibits. GSA staff have organised several great activities for the Mackintosh Festival, including talks by several of our Restoration Research Team members.

Our Mackintosh Curator Peter Trowles kicked things off with an enlightening talk on the evolution of the Mackintosh Building over the past 100 years. Walking tours will also continue to run every Saturday in October: these 2.5-hour perambulations around the city centre are given by our very own students and provide insights into Glasgow’s architectural and design history.

Indoors, the ground floor corridor of the Reid building is currently hosting an exceptionally beautiful exhibition, “The Mack” Digital Recovery Begins Physical Re-imagining. On display until the 29th of October, the exhibit features the astonishing laser scans of the Mack created by the GSA’s School of Simulation + Visualisation (formerly DDS). Cross-sections of the Mack post-fire have been enlarged and printed onto fabric to reveal the interior and exterior of the School in intimate detail, highlighting just how advanced laser scanning has become, but also providing a crucial record of the building that is being used by the Restoration Design Team as they bring back the Mack.

Laser scan of the Mackintosh Building, 2014-15. School of Visualisation and Simulation, The GSofA.

On Monday 17th, we will be hosting an evening of short talks in the Reid’s main lecture theatre from 18:00-20:30. Entitled ‘State of the Mack’, this event will provide an excellent opportunity to hear from the experts working on the Mack Restoration & Collections Recovery projects. Speakers will share up-to-the-moment stories from our overarching reconstruction and conservation approaches, including the ground-breaking research being developed to restore the school’s scorched plaster casts and iconic library lights; as well as sharing news on the recovery of the library collection, the laser scanning project, and new discoveries about the Mack that have arisen from this important endeavour.

The following week, on Tuesday the 25th at 12:30, our Archivist Susannah Waters, will not only be discussing what life was like for the GSA’s 19th century students, but she will also be providing attendees with the opportunity to see original Mackintosh sketches and watercolours from the period.

We hope you will visit us during #MackintoshMonth, and follow this blog to keep up with us on our journey with this unique project. You can also follow us on Twitter @MackRestoration.

Design for Glasgow School of Art: east/west elevations, 1897. GSA Collection, MC/G/60