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Mackintosh restoration gets £450,000 donation

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Independent charity The Wolfson Foundation has donated £450,000 towards the restoration of the Glasgow School of Art’s fire-ravaged Mackintosh Building

The grant to the Mackintosh Campus Appeal will help support the £80 million plan by Page\Park to restore the Mackintosh Building and the purchase and conversion of the former Stow College building.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Grade A-listed building was badly damaged by a fire on 23 May 2014. A report by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service concluded that the blaze was caused by flammable gases from a cannister of foam coming into contact with the hot surface of a projector. 

The Wolfson donation means that £18.5 million has now been raised towards the £32 million Mackintosh Campus Appeal target. According to the school, it is the largest grant given to a non-science project in Scotland in the past five years.

Work is currently under way to remove the stone piers from the library of the Mackintosh Building and the conversion of the Stow building has started. 

Glasgow-based AJ100 practice Page\Page won the international competition to restore the Mackintosh Building in March 2015, ahead of a shortlist comprising John McAslan + Partners, Avanti, Purcell, and LDN Architects.

The team had originally hoped that students would be able to return to the landmark in late 2017. But in June a spokesperson for the project said that was now unlikely, though some academic uses could restart in the building in 2018 before the restoration works were fully finished. 

Works are split into two phases and include refurbishment of the fire-damaged stonework and replacement of the roofs over the east and west wings.

Paul Ramsbottom, chief executive of The Wolfson Foundation, said: ‘We were impressed not only by the bravery, ambition and energy with which the school has responded to the traumatic events of May 2014, but also by the sensitivity with which this restoration has been conceived – not in isolation, but as part of a wider strategic vision for the school’s future.

‘We are delighted to be supporting this important regeneration project, and helping to revitalise an outstanding building in the city of our founder’s birth.’

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