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Replace the Mac with an all-new building, Dunlop to tell MSPs

Mac fire june 2018 peter drummond web

Architect Alan Dunlop is urging the Scottish Parliament to replace the fire-damaged Glasgow School of Art with a modern building

Dunlop has submitted extensive written evidence to the parliament’s Culture, Tourism, Europe and External Affairs Committee, which is conducting an inquiry into the future of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s iconic building.

The architect, who also hopes to appear before the committee, will argue that reconstructing the school to the original designs would be a ‘knee-jerk reaction’ to the second fire to hit the building in four years.

Dunlop said: ’My position has been only that we should stand back and consider what is best to do; and that replicating the GSA might not be the only way forward.

’Instead the creation of a new art school to meet the needs of a school of art in the 21st century should be considered and be part of a national conversation and debate.’

He said that the current situation provides an opportunity to think about the whole city block fronting Sauchiehall Street.

Replacement buildings could include a brand new Mackintosh gallery similar to the Miró Gallery in Barcelona and a new cinema, Dunlop has argued.

Earlier this week, the first session of the committee’s inquiry heard that an independent board of experts should be appointed to oversee a rebuild of the Mac.

No date had been scheduled for the second session of the inquiry at the time of publication.


Readers' comments (14)

  • He’s had his say. He should shut up now with the blatant self promotion, jumping on every bandwagon as some sort of self appointed Scottish architectural custodian, be it the Mac or the Celtic crossing.

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  • Thank you MJ. In both cases I was asked my opinion and to consider a way forward by various national newspapers and the BBC, Sky and so on. I gave it honestly. As far as the Mac, particularly is concerned it has left me open to anonymous "shut up" comments, like your own and from other keyboard warriors. Frankly however, I'll keep going.

    The future of Mackintosh's GSA is worthy of a national debate, part of that debate should include the consideration of a new building, not only a brick by brick replication. I've put I believe a strong case to the Scottish Parliament Committee. Perhaps you should do the same? It's a democracy after all, where all views should be considered, no matter how disagreeable they may be to some.

    All the very best to you.

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  • The circumstances that led to the UK media and Scottish politicians beating down Mr Dunlop's door to hear his views are unclear but for one person who is not particularly prominent in Scottish architectural circles and unconnected with events to have claimed the limelight in this manner reeks of self-promotion.

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  • Ach, thank you too "Robin".

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  • I would much rather see the Mac rebuilt to Mackintosh's design (albeit with better fire precautions) than a different building. I don't see this as replicating anything - after all Mackintosh didn't build it in the first place.

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  • Isn't the notion that reconstruction of such a remarkable building would be a 'knee-jerk reaction' rather insulting?
    There's quite a number of European cities that would be much the poorer had it not been for just such 'knee-jerk reactions' at the end of WW2.
    And central Glasgow has surely lost quite enough of its fine architectural heritage already, just from often uninspired redevelopment - compare the illustrations in Andor Gomme and David Walker's 'Architecture of Glasgow', published exactly fifty years ago, with the scene today.

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  • MacKenzie Architects

    I would want it rebuilt, it was a great solution and probably better than most if not all modern Art school buildings (especially the one opposite).

    If it ended up as a Tate of the North because that was what 'people' wanted, that's OK I guess, but then you could move the entire Art School campus down over the M8 between Charing Cross and St Vincent St. That would satisfy me.

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  • Personally, I am relived to understand that Alan Dunlop is the loud voice of a very very small minority. But I am dismayed to read that he's still on his mission regardless.
    The press seem to have been feeding with a frenzy on his anti-rebuild stance. Maybe this makes good press and good publicity but it offends the majority.
    If Glasgow, or Dunlop, or whoever, wishes to demonstrate what they are capable of in this new century, then do so on another site: there are plenty opportunities elsewhere.
    We want the Mack back full stop. We can achieve great things on other sites and still have the Mack.
    Yes, it’s a democracy, yes we all have the right to an opinion, yes we all have the right to be heard.
    He's been heard, he's been heard again, and he’s been heard yet again.
    Will he not now listen to the strong feedback of the majority who see the loss of this building as a tragedy too large to contemplate?
    Time for Dunlop to make the magnanimous move and back off.

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  • I think you'll find that very very small minority is now growing, Chris. So we'll see.

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  • Industry Professional

    Can AJ please confirm if Mr Dunlop has been invited by the committee to submit evidence? The suggestion is that he has submitted written statement but is not invited to speak, however I understood all the others who have currently submitted statements were speaking at last week's committee? Was that incorrect, or has Mr Dunlop volunteered (rather than been asked to provide) both written and verbal evidence? Thank you.

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