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Page\Park triumphs in Mac contest

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Page\Page has won the international competition to restore Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art (GSA) building

The Glasgow-based AJ100 practice saw off shortlisted firms John McAslan + Partners, Avanti, Purcell, and LDN Architects to bag the prestigious job to restore the Category A-listed masterpiece.

The firm has already worked on a number of Mackintosh-designed projects including Hill House and converting the former Glasgow Herald offices into the Lighthouse.

As part of it submission for the £35million project, Page\Park carried out detailed analysis of the Art Nouveau library’s construction.

Looking at a single bay and post of the balcony – an element which is repeated throughout the library – the practice uncovered how the room was put together.

In a document, entitled Piece by Piece, Page\Park outlines how the destroyed library could be recreated within the remains of its existing masonry shell. It reads: ‘The library can be constructed honestly and accurately, to be enjoyed and celebrated once more for generations to come.’

Speaking about the appointment, director of the Glasgow School of Art Tom Inns, said: ‘The team assembled by Page\Park Architects impressed us not only with their deep knowledge of the building, but of the wider work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

‘They displayed a superb methodology to the task of restoration – in particular their room by room analysis of the structure, materiality, craftsmanship and intent of Mackintosh in designing, specifying and overseeing the construction of his masterwork.

He added: ‘They also bring an understanding of the building’s particular importance to Glasgow – its people and history - as well as of its status as an international design icon.’

David Page, head of architecture at Page\Park commented: ‘We have, over many years, had the privilege to work on and in the context of the Mackintosh legacy, the highlight of which will now be the opportunity to bring The Glasgow School of Art into splendid re-use for its students and staff, the people of Glasgow and the huge audience beyond the city.’

The win confirms that the library will be rebuilt and restored rather than replaced with a new modern library as some had hoped.

Glasgow-based architect Alan Dunlop had argued that the library should not be built as a replica.

‘The best thing would be to have a new idea, something which is worthy of the Mackintosh Building’, he had previously said.

Julian Harrap, an architect who attended several meetings of experts about the building’s future had previously described calls to build an exact replica of the library as ‘hasty’ and ‘driven by insurers and loss adjusters’ (AJ 03.12.14).

The Glasgow School of Art has also announced it will establish an expert advisory panel for the restoration, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.

Work is expected to start on the restoration project in spring 2016 with the scheme set to complete by 2018.

Previous story (AJ 12.11.14)

Mac restoration job drums up global interest


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