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Love affair with a famous building that spans more than half a decade

THE main architect behind Glasgow School of Art's acclaimed Reid Building has spoken of the lasting impact on him of the school's world-famous Mackintosh-designed building.

The Reid, which was opened earlier this month by actor Robbie Coltrane who described it as a 'awesome,' will house the school's design school, refectory, workshops and new visitor centre opposite the Reid. In a BBC2 Scotland documentary to be screened tomorrow night,Steve Holl, who is one of the world's most celebrated architects, says he was first made aware of Mackintosh's building while at university in the 1960s.

His relationship began at the University of Washington, in Seattle. He says "Thank God I had a couple of great professors, one of which was Hermann Pundt.

"In 1967 or '68 he gave a lecture on the Glasgow School of Art and Mackintosh, and so from that time on, that building was always in my mind as maybe one of the most important buildings in the whole UK."

Holl, who company is based in New York, makes his comments in Facing Up to Mackintosh, which was directed by Louise Lockwood, a graduate of the school of art.

Of his thoughts on the design of the Reid Building, Holl says: "We have done a number of art schools ... The building is not some kind of set-piece, it's an instrument to be utilised.

"Students need great space and great proportions and great light, and they need the building to be tough, so they can abuse it.

"Because some art, students need to throw the paint on the wall, and need to jackhammer the floor. That's what they need to do. They need to do a karate-chop to whatever, and that's what the building is."

The documentary features contributions from such former GSA students including Muriel Gray and Adrian Wisniewski, and charts the demolition of the old Newbery Tower and its replacement by the Reid.

l Facing Up to Mackintosh, BBC2 Scotland, 9pm

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