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Architecture City

It's 1999, and Glasgow is officially the UK City of Architecture and Design. Here we offer a preview of exhibitions and events throughout the year. On the following pages we take a look at Glasgow 1999's major building projects

Glasgow is set to send off the Millennium with what must be one of the most ambitious programmes of architectural and design events ever attempted. Throughout its year as City of Architecture it is hosting more than 300 exhibitions, seminars, competitions and unveilings of new 'real' architecture. The programme juggles the familiar with the unknown, the local with the international. The choice is bewildering - no problem for the Glaswegians but the rest of us will have to get down to some careful forward planning. To help you plan your calendar, we have picked out some of the highlights, and the Glasgow 1999 office is issuing monthly diaries to save on wall space.

For Deyan Sudjic, director of Glasgow 1999, the first blockbuster, Winning: the Design of Sports, sets the scene for the year: 'exploring everyday themes through innovative exhibition design by world-class designers'. For visitors unmoved by the sight of genuine World Cup footballs, or even the unique 1950 Maserati 250F, the attraction of 'Winning' will be Ron Arad's installation. Curated by Susan Andrews, 'Winning' is at the McLellan Galleries from 9 January to 5 April.

Glasgow is the only British venue for Frank Lloyd Wright and the Living City, on its international tour from Vitra. It explores Wright's work through his Broadacre City, a Utopian vision of the future. Mathias Schwartz- Claus, curator at the Vitra Design Museum, says the exhibition is especially relevant to Glasgow as the home of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and compares the two architects' 'respect for craft and detail, the vocabulary of their designs and their whole outlook on architecture and design as an integrated and organic whole'. The exhibition will look at Wright's entire oeuvre and include models from some of his masterpieces, including the Johnson Wax Administration Building and the Larkin Building. At the Art Gallery and Museum, Kelvingrove, from 19 February to 11 April.

In scale, scope and ambition, the most ambitious architectural exhibition of the year has to be Vertigo: the Strange New World of the Contemporary City. Curated by Rowan Moore and designed by Caruso St John, architect of the new Walsall Art Gallery, with graphic designer Peter Willberg, the exhibition takes ten themes twinned with ten building projects billed as 'the projects which will make the twenty-first century', and uses them to explore the current state of urban life. Using every technique available - film, photographs (specially commissioned), videos, interviews, models - Vertigo 'is trying to take the formulaic exhibition and turn it into something lively and vibrant. It will say something about the way we should represent architecture in exhibitions,' says Sarah Gaventa, communications director for Glasgow 1999. Buildings featured include the new Tate Gallery at Bankside by Herzog and de Meuron (culture); projects in Central Berlin by Foster and Partners, Libeskind, Piano and others (politics), World Financial Centre, Shanghai by kpf (money), etc. Set in one of Glasgow's most exciting venues, the Old Fruit Market, Caruso St John's installation is likely to prove as much of a draw as the contents - a chance to see this rising practice tackling a new challenge. Vertigo runs from 26 February to 16 May.

Speaking of 'Vertigo', don't neglect the Cinema as Architecture programme at Glasgow Film Theatre in February, May and October. Classics such as Metropolis, Man with a Movie Camera and The Fountainhead will be interspersed with new films made by independent film-makers, some of them working in Glasgow (tel: 0141 332 6535).

An exhibition on Glasgow's Alexander Thomson: The Unknown Genius opens the Lighthouse, the old Glasgow Herald office, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and refurbished by Page and Park (pages 28-29). Curators Gavin Stamp and Murray Grigor aim to put Thomson on an equal footing with the show-stealing Mackintosh. (Many of Thomson's other buildings, including the restored Holmwood, will be open to the public as part of an expanded Doors Open Day programme.) The Alexander 'Greek' Thomson exhibition runs from 28 May to 15 August. Also at The Lighthouse is a permanent Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition.

At the Burrell Collection, Mies van der Rohe: Furniture and Buildings in Stuttgart, Barcelona, Brno, runs from 14 May to 29 August and looks at three of the early works, including the Barcelona Pavilion of 1929.

The Architecture of Democracy, curated by Deyan Sudjic and Helen Jones, is at the McLellan Galleries from May to July. Can architecture shape democracy and our sense of nationhood, as Winston Churchill believed? This exhibition brings the debate bang up to date with an analysis of key moments and buildings in political history, from Ancient Athens to the design for the new Scottish Parliament by Enric Miralles.

Last year Britain missed out on a major exhibition celebrating the life and work of Alvar Aalto. Glasgow 1999 will make up for this with Alvar Aalto in Seven Buildings, an exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, first shown in Finland last year. It runs from 30 July to 10 October.

Other events worth noting:

New Architects, the show of The Architecture Foundation's recent book on Britain's best young architects; at Central Station through January. Vanity Cases is a retrospective on the work of Philippe Starck, with all the exhibits shrunk to the scale of toys by curator Quim Larrea - at the Lighthouse, from 3 September to 7 November. And in the superb setting of Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art, the work of Ettore Sottsass and Associati will be shown from 20 July to 25 September; the exhibition has been specially designed by the maestro himself.

On pages 30-37 we preview Homes for the Future - new homes for the city, designed by leading architects, which may be viewed by the public from July to October.

Oh, to be in Glasgow now that it's City of Architecture. Forget Eurostar, book your overnight sleeper on The Royal Scot, enjoy breakfast served with the day's newspaper as you draw into Glasgow Central, lunch at The Burrell, take tea at the Mackintosh Tea Rooms, dine at Rogano's Oyster Bar in Royal Exchange Square and squeeze as much architecture as you can in between. Repeat every one or two months.

For monthly diaries of events tel: 0141 287 1999

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