MacSTONE: Effects of Fire on Building Stone at the Mackintosh School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland

John Hughes, Torsten Howind

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

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Abstract

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA, 1897-1909) is considered the masterwork of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) and remains the functional core of one of Europe’s leading Art and Architecture Schools [1]. On the 23rd May 2014 fire burnt through the west end of the GSA [2,3,4]. Starting in the basement the fire engulfed several studio spaces, and the School’s library; perhaps the finest example of Art Nouveau interior design in the world [1,5]. The public and expert reaction to the disaster [5] has contextualised recovery; research seminars developed collaborative projects around the impact of the fire, from which this project grew.

In the devastated library space, damage is evident on the sandstone walls, notably the piers between the windows and the walls either side of the tall windows. Surface spalling and cracking of the stone will require significant intervention as part of the restoration effort. The loss of cultural, historic and artistic value, due to the fire, is indeed tragic, but the damage to the structural fabric of the building also behoves us to understand the material impact of the disaster to assist in the restoration and recovery activities. The purpose of the MOLAB visit was to perform analysis on the affected walls to understand the effects of the fire on the stone and to evaluate the degree of damage. It is hoped this will contribute to decision-support for the repair works.

Access to the library for MOLAB was under conditions of a construction site, with appropriate health and safety measures with regard to working practice and personal protection. Structural assessment of the walls of the Macintosh school necessitated the construction of a bracing scaffold. Access was required from floor level up to approximately 4-5m height. Two movable scaffold towers were erected against the fixed scaffold, and permission obtained to place measureing equipment onto the fixed scaffold.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMOLAB Web site
PublisherIntegrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage
Commissioning bodyIPERION CH MOLAB- Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2016

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Keywords

  • Mackintosh
  • Glasgow School of Art
  • MOLAB
  • FIre damage
  • sandstone

Cite this

Hughes, J., & Howind, T. (2016). MacSTONE: Effects of Fire on Building Stone at the Mackintosh School of Art, Glasgow, Scotland. Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Cultural Heritage.