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Revealed: Leaked images of Mackintosh shortlist


The AJ has obtained these drawings and images submitted by the six finalists in the competition to design a new £50 million building for the Glasgow School of Art

Although the school is only initially looking for a project team and design approach, a number of the submissions are particularly detailed - including those thought to be drawn up by Steven Holl Architects with JM Architects and fellow finalists Benson + Forsyth.

The other shortlisted practices are Spanish-based Francisco Mangado Architects, Dublin’s Grafton Architects, Elder & Cannon, Hopkins and a joint bid by John McAslan and Partners with Nord Architects.

A winner will be announced on 25 September.

Previous story - 22.05.09

Mackintosh shortlist unveiled

None of the big name ‘starchitects’ vying to win the high-profile contest to design a new £50 million building for the Glasgow School of Art has made it on to the seven-strong shortlist

Instead the finalists boast a distinctive Scottish flavour and include, among others, Glasgow-based Elder & Cannon, Nord Architects with John McAslan and Partners, Glasgow’s JM Architects with American Steven Holl Architects and Scots Benson & Forsyth.

A host of Pritzker and Stirling Prize winners, including Richard Rogers, Zaha Hadid, David Chipperfield had been among more than 150 teams to enter the competition to mastermind the redevelopment of the Garnethill site opposite Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece.

The finalists are:

Elder & Cannon (Glasgow)

Francisco Mangado Architects (Pamplona, Spain)

Grafton Architects (Dublin)


Benson + Forsyth (London)

John McAslan and Partners with Nord Architects (London and Glasgow partnership)

Steven Holl Architects with JM Architects (New York and Glasgow partnership)

Malcolm Reading who managed the GSA competition said: ‘This is a rich and varied list for an exceptional project.  The selection was extremely careful. These were the names that had life-force, they kept appearing again and again during the deliberations.

He added: ‘Not all the practices are well-known in the UK but they all have a distinctive way of working and projects that show a sense of place and sensitivity to environment.

‘What distinguished these teams was they had thought deeply about the context of the building and the needs of the client.’

The judging panel was chaired by David Mackay of MBM Arquitectes and included writer Muriel Gray (deputy chair), Christine Hawley of The Bartlett and Isi Metzstein of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia fame.

The shortlisted practices will now develop their schemes and submit final designs in late July 2009 with interviews in early September. The winning architect-led design team will be announced later that month.

Phase 1 of the development is set to open in 2013.




Readers' comments (7)

  • A good shortlist. elder and cannon has proved itself as a designer of good neighbours (a number of private schools) to the Mac in glasgow's garnethill, Grafton's milanese university building is probably the best big new building of 2008, benson and forsyth are (perhaps a little too) obsessed with a certain kind of scottish modernism, steven holl rocks (dorms in MIT are really quite special), macaslan and nord is a good practical team up (although i hope its NORD designing and MacAslan providing the musclepower), and well hopkins, why the hell not, and francisco mangado - obviously a shoe-in by mackay.

    should be a good battle.

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  • I hope Elder and Canon get it...otherwise im not to fussed...the leaked images all look great and the offices are great...exciting times at GSA!

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  • To Anonymous 23-May-2009,

    Great commentary.......did you happen to provide commentary during the Ashes cricket test?

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  • Honestly I can't say I particularly care for any of the designs there save NORD/McAslan's.

    It will be interesting to see who wins, regardless.

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  • A very underwhelming batch of images to showcase these ideas: yet another variation on B+F's usual corb-with-extraneous-fiddlybits; trees both on and under roofs by holl (eh?); a fetishistic section by nord that almost but doesn't quite manage to connect to the Mack across the road (otherwise what is the point of the emphasis on this view?); a scribble by Grafton trying to copy the underbelly of the architecture building (too busy to bother?); Hopkins with a glass box, mistaking glasgow for a sun-trap (geee-zo); Mangado proposing a mirrored south elevation which will completely destroy the art school studio's northlights; E+C feeling the need to remind us it rains a lot up here (so no-one will look up?). Am I the only one depressed by these?

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  • more of a serious of dribbles than a leak - I'm referring to the designs rather than the way the organisers stage-mananaged the early release of information. Q - is the client worried he's going to be landed with a dullish design (I'd be worried).

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  • If these images are any indication then yes, the client should be worried, but probably less so than some of the architects - is it good value for money to appoint a foreign architect during a recession (especially one with language/climate barriers) or is it easier and cheaper to milk all the good ideas from a competition, then appoint a local practice that's desperate for work? This would explain Grafton's fag-packet sketch approach - keep the good stuff until you've got the contract signed. Pity, though, because Mangado's images are the most appealing so far, externally at least.

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