Glasgow School of Art to Be Dismantled

John Hill
28. June 2018
Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

Two weeks after a fire – the second in four years – hit Charles Rennie Mackintosh's masterpiece at the Glasgow School of Art, the Glasgow City Council has determined that portions of the building require urgent dismantling.

The "extensive down takings," as worded by the Glasgow School of Art in a statement transcribed below, were determined by drone and laser-scanning carried out last week, in which damage to the Mackintosh Buildings was revealed to be "significantly greater than had initially been anticipated." Today's heartbreaking news comes twelve days after the fire and after just as many days of speculation on the building's future.

As quoted at the Guardian, a Council spokesman said, "The building has moved much, much more than we expected. The south facade is a particular risk and we’re now saying it is likely rather than possibly going to collapse. It will be taken down urgently to probably at least the first floor level, but safely. And by safely we mean it will take a couple of days to come up with a methodology to do that."

​Raymond Barlow from the Council reiterated this: "With each passing day a sudden collapse becomes more likely." In turn, "As the process begins it will be likely that the other walls will also need to be reduced."

​With this news, the future of preserving as much of Mackintosh's 110-year-old masterpiece as possible is dimmer every day.

Glasgow School of Art Statement - 28 June 2018

A transcript of today's statement from the Glasgow School of Art, with bolded section indicating the dismantling to come in a few days time:

Yesterday The Glasgow School of Art, working with its team of structural experts, had an opportunity to continue its assessment of the structural integrity of the Mackintosh Building. 

The GSA’s new specialist site contractor, Reigart, has now brought large mobile cranes on site to allow detailed close-up visual assessment of damage to the building. All of this information is being shared with the  Glasgow City Council Building Control team to establish an effective stabilisation strategy that ensures public safety.

The detailed visual assessment shows that damage to the Mackintosh Building is significantly greater than had initially been anticipated from ground visual assessment and the data from the drone and scanning footage which were undertaken last week.

The Glasgow School of Art’s site contractor Reigart, together with its structural engineers, David Narro Associates, are using all this information to develop a plan of works to achieve structural stability of the building. This will be agreed with Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Glasgow City Council (GCC) Building Control. All parties are working in close collaboration to allow plans to be developed and agreed as quickly as possible.

The areas of significant concern are the east elevation, the west elevation and sections of the south elevation. The plan of works will involve Reigart undertaking extensive down takings and potential structural bracing. 

Due to the condition of the Mackintosh Building this work will be undertaken in a highly controlled way to minimise any potential risk of failure and be sufficient to achieve structural stability of the Mackintosh Building.  

The aim of the GSA and GCC will be to return normal access for residents and businesses as soon as possible. 

When the plan of works has been agreed with HES and GCC Building Control, we'll let people know.

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