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Cherishing our treasures

A CITY often forgets its hidden gems.

And Glasgow, when it comes to architecture has many, not least the School of Art's Mackintosh Building, now gutted by fire.

Stark and perfect, it has perched on Garnethill in the city centre for more than 100 years, when building work finished on Charles Rennie Mackintosh's design. Everyone in the city - not just its students, tutors and alumni - loved it, but many almost forgot it was there, taking it for granted. You can take a beautiful building for granted, thinking it something permanent on the landscape, like a hill or river, rather than the fragile thing it really is: a pile of artfully arranged bricks and stones defying gravity.

While it is painful for the city to see this grand building smoulder, it could have been much worse. People could have died and the building could have collapsed. Thankfully, that hasn't happened and the School of Art will open again - though much of its precious library has been lost.

What the fire reminds us is what we were taught by our parents when we were children: cherish what you have, while you have it. We live in a culture that rarely slows down long enough for us to take a look at the world around us and appreciate it.

We should look with different eyes on Glasgow; look up at the buildings above us, and view them with an appreciative eye. For everything is transient - even granite and metal - and while beautiful things are with us, we should learn to love them in the permanent present.

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