Glasgow Art School’s chairwoman Muriel Gray has confirmed the building will be rebuilt based on Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s original designs but could take as long as seven years to be completed.
The fire-hit art school was left in ruins after a devastating blaze happened in June with the impacts that bad meaning most connected to the facility were left unsure about its future. A lot of commentators even feared the worst and believed it could be the end for the school.
But speaking to the Herald on Sunday, Ms Gray looked to fill the city and prospective students with optimism. “We are resolved that the Mackintosh comes back as a working art school, as a major player, a cultural leader for the city and the Scottish economy," she said. "It will be beautiful. It will be as Mackintosh designed it, to the millimetre. People argue a (rebuild will take) anywhere between four and seven years.”
The blaze on 15 June to the grade-A listed building was a tough one to take for the city and its students with the art school only just completing its restoration from another fire four years earlier which left parts of the building destroyed.
More than 100 firefighters attended the incident which tore through the entirety of the roof and led to dozens of evacuations in surrounding streets. First minister Nicola Sturgeon described the damage as “much, much worse” than the one in 2014.
But the chair of the Glasgow Art School is hopeful that the rebuild will be funded without any expense to the taxpayer with the vast majority being financed via insurance pay-outs and charitable donations. Although a final figure of what it would cost is unknown at this early stage with Ms Gray denying a £100m estimate which had been floated by some media outlets.
Ms Gray added: “That will depend on the insurance money, getting the right people in place to do it, building regulations, all the standard technical and financial stuff, but…for the forensic detail we have on the building, we could practically 3D print it. We are entirely trusting that this is not going to cost any public money at all.”
She also said how it was “non-negotiable” for the building to be anything other than a working art school once reopened and hoped students could be back in the building in time for the centenary of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s death in 2028.
"This time it will be built with such knowledge and expertise that we have learned since 2014,” Ms Gray added. "We are resolved that the Mackintosh comes back as a working art school, as a major player, a cultural leader for the city and the Scottish economy. The roads lead back to Mackintosh, absolutely and non-negotiably. As far as we are concerned that decision we made in 2014 has just been interrupted."