IT WAS constructed to his distinctive design and for almost 20 years has been a must-see stop on the Charles Rennine Mackintosh tourist trail.

Now Glasgow's House for an Art Lover has undergone its biggest overhaul since it opened in 1996, with the launch today of a new artists' studio pavilion and the latest phase of the Art Park Glasgow project near the main house.

The new artists' studio pavilion, which will be unveiled at the house in Bellahouston Park, has been influenced by Mackintosh's love of Japanese design and by the painting studios at Glasgow School of Art, where he studied.

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It will be used by selected artists to create and show public artworks.

Today also marks the official opening of the Art Park Centre for Arts & Heritage, the latest phase of the Art Park Glasgow project, which is housed in the former Ibroxhill House stables and dovecot buildings at the site. An educational and research centre, it will showcase the local area's history. One display incorporates footage from the Empire Exhibition of 1938, which was held in the park and attracted 12.5 million people.

Glasgow architectural firm ZM Architecture designed the new pavilion and heritage centre which were funded by Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council at a cost of £550,000.

Director Nick Blair said: "Japanese tea house design and horticulture have been strong influences but perhaps most of all we have been inspired by the delightful setting of the walled garden.

"To have had the opportunity to design a contemporary building in such a special context in one of Glasgow's public parks has been a real privilege."

House for an Art Lover chief executive Garry Sanderson said: "We are immensely proud to be opening our new studio pavilion and art park centre in a year that is a very important one for Glasgow.

"The buildings are stunning and will provide a great resource for visiting artists, our artists in residence and members of the public who attend our extensive range of art classes.

"Having the research project in the heritage centre will allow us to engage with the local community and visitors from around the world who want to learn more about the amazing story of our city."

He added: "The new pavilion has been built in a style which complements the house and its surrounding Art Park, and it's good to be giving our visitors even more to see when they visit."

Kenny Hunter is the current artist in residence and his Generation show, which is part of a nationwide exhibition celebrating 25 years of contemporary art in Scotland, will be the first in the new facilities.

He said: "These are auspicious times for House for an Art Lover, with bold new initiatives and projects taking place within both Generation and the Commonwealth Games. I am looking forward to being part of it."