WORKERS are on target to have Glasgow School of Art fully risen from the ashes of a devastating fire in two years’ time.

Students were preparing for a degree show in May 2014 when the Mackintosh Building that houses the school was hit by a disastrous blaze.

While about 90 per cent of the structure was declared “viable”, the blaze, which tore through the west wing of the 108-year-old Grade A-listed building, destroyed the Mackintosh library, thought to be one of the finest examples of art nouveau in the world.

The Japanese-inspired Studio 58 above the library was also lost in the flames as were many rare materials and original furniture and fittings.

The project has called on the help of up to 30 different trades and craftspeople, from horse hair plasterers to lead glaziers, and no detail has been overlooked.


A team of forensic archaeologists were even employed to rescue 620 individual pieces of brass plate lamp fittings to recreate 29 out of the 48 original light fittings.

And now what the school said was a “major step forward for the restoration of the Mack, the temporary roof has been removed for the first time, and glass panels have been craned on to the top of the west wing of the building. Panels for the walls and roof of the Hen Run have also been craned on to the building.

Yellow pine timber beams from a former cotton mill in Lowell, Massachusetts, which matched the wood from the upright beams of Studio 58, have been also put in place.

“It all marks another major step forward in the restoration of the Mack,” said Lesley Booth, of the Glasgow School of Art.

The building is now scheduled to be handed over to the Art School on schedule in early spring 2019 with the first cohort of students starting in the building in the autumn of the same year.

Estimated cost of the restoration is about £35 million.

The GSA estimated that the cost of restoring the building would reach £35m. Alongside a simultaneous upgrade of the east wing of the Mackintosh building, the project is being supported by the £32m Mackintosh Campus Appeal, £18m of which has been raised to date including support from both the UK and Scottish governments.