Fire At Glasgow School of Art: Damage To Building And Students’ Work Unknown

Fire billowed from the windows of the iconic Glasgow School of Art in Scotland today.

Fortunately, everyone was evacuated safely and there were no casualties reported.

The landmark art school was designed at the turn of the 20th century by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The revered art school was voted the best building of the past 175 years in a poll by the Royal Institute of British Architects. Rennie was a Scottish architect, designer, and artist whose designs were influenced by Asian art and nature. His influence has stretched into the 21st century. A variation of Rennie’s handwritten lettering is used as the font for the supernatural TV series American Horror Story.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were reportedly on the scene within four minutes to battle the blaze. Assistant Chief Officer Dave Boyle stated: “While the priority from the outset was to save life we have also been working closely with Glasgow School of Art staff to ensure firefighters conducted an effective salvage operation.

Now that that all the remaining pockets of fire have been extinguished, students and residents must wait to find out the extent of the damage. Some of the art school’s students were preparing for their end-of-year degree show. Current chairwoman of the Glasgow School of Art, Muriel Gray, commended the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for their prompt response and shared her empathy with students who may have had years of work trapped inside the burning building.

We are acutely aware this period is the culmination of years of endeavour for students and that their irreplaceable work is inside the Mackintosh.

A graduate of the school of art, Alex Misick, witnessed the smoke billowing from windows. The current VP of the Students’ Association said:

It was literally a few hours to go before everyone finished up and handed in. That’s everyone’s work over three or four years. Everyone’s in tears.

The BBC reports witnesses blaming the cause of the fire on a projector that exploded in the basement of the art school. Reports say that close to 90 percent of the structure is viable and that 70 percent of the contents were protected. But some believe the famous library, filled with a lot of paper and colorful timber, to be completely lost. Also feared destroyed is a glazed corridor that ran across the roof called Hen Run.

GSA Library
GSA Hen Run

The fire department looks to spend an extended amount of time saving what they can from Mackintosh’s architectural masterpiece. Fire service chief officer Alasdair Hay stated:

Part of our operation is to try and salvage what we can and we worked with colleagues from the school who identified objects of significance that they would like us, if possible, to save.

A confirmation has not been made on what started the fire. The fire service has yet to report what has been saved.

Fire pic via Daily Mail

GSA Library and Hen Run pics via Scotcities