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UK government gives £5m to help restore Mac

The UK Treasury has pledged £5million towards the restoration of the fire-damaged Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Glasgow School of Art (GSA) building

The money is on top of the £5million match funding the Scottish government has already promised to the GSA for the repair of the 1909 masterpiece. The restoration of the Grade A-listed building is expected to cost up to £35million.

The Mac was hit by fire on 23 May - a blaze which destroyed the iconic Mackintosh library and damaging aroung 10 per cent of the Glasgow landmark. A future timescale for the restoration work is still not known with teams still on site assessing the damage.

Announcing the cash boost chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: ‘The GSA is one of Glasgow’s great institutions. It is a beautiful building of international importance so it is right that the UK government should make a contribution to its restoration.’

GSA professor Tom Inns, who earlier this month admitted the school’s insurance policy would not fund the whole restoration, described the funidng pledge as a ‘huge boost to the GSA Development Trust’s Mackintosh Appeal.

He added: ‘We’re determined to restore the building to its former glory, as the inspirational home for the GSA’s creative talent and for the delight of visitors from across the UK and the world.

‘The UK government’s support will help us enormously in our efforts to rebuild, and to ensure we can continue to operate at the highest level internationally, bringing the UK’s creative talent to the world and allowing the world to understand the unique contribution of Mackintosh.’

Previous story (AJ 18.06.14)

Mac could cost £35m to repair

The cost of repairing the fire-damaged Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed Glasgow School of Art (GSA) building could reach £35million, according to initial estimates

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee, the school’s director Tom Inns, said restoration of the Grade A-listed Mac could take up to four years and that early figures put the cost of the work at ‘somewhere between £20 - £35million’.

The Scottish Government has pledged up to £5million in funding to help the school after the 1909 Charles Rennie Mackintosh-designed building was hit by fire last month.  

Inns said the GSA was in ‘complex negotiations’ with its insurer but admitted that the policy would not fund the whole restoration.

‘The building is well insured. The insurance will cover certain things but it won’t cover other things. It is an extremely complex insurance case and it will be resolved over time’, Inns said to the committee.

But Inns said he was confident the GSA would be able to raise the rest of the money needed to restore and repair the building. He added: ‘We will have to raise funds and will be setting up a fund raising campaign. I am optimistic.’

The fire which ravaged through the building on 23 May destroyed the iconic Mackintosh library, but firefighters were able to save most of the structure and around 70 per cent of the building’s contents.

The news of the repair costs come as the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service was recognised for their efforts at last night’s RIAS Awards, following the AJ’s own pledge to present a special architectural award to the fire service.

More than 200 firefighters from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service fought for seven hours to control the fire which threatened to destroy the Art Nouveau landmark.

In a feat of ‘incredibly intelligent’ firefighting, the teams not only stopped the blaze spreading to the older 1897 building, but salvaged furniture and artefacts at the east end of the building while they continued to fight the fire at the west end.

Commenting at last night’s RIAS Awards, RIAS President, Iain Connelly said: ‘The value of Glasgow School of Art goes well beyond the city or even Scotland. It is a work of architectural heritage of world renown and its influence on 20th century architecture is immeasurable. It reflects the genius of one of our greatest ever architects.

‘The whole of the architectural profession in Scotland will, I am sure, join with me in congratulating the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for the extraordinary work they did on that terrible day as the rest of the world could only look on. We are forever in their debt.’

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