Glasgow School of Art leaders have said they share the frustration of many that the cause of the last catastrophic fire cannot be identified.

Professor Penny Macbeth, Director, and Kirsten Bennie, Interim Chair of the school's board of governers said they would now take time to fully consider the report and "lessons learned exercise" on all aspects of the restoration.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) has published the findings of its investigation into the 2018 fire that devastated the prized Mackintosh Building as it neared the end of a £35 million restoration project following a previous fire in May 2014.


The report concluded that the damage to the building was so severe, it was not possible to ascertain a definite causes but found that wilful fire raising and electrical failure and accidental ignition by something like a cigarette could not be fully ruled out.

The leaders said they remained committed to a "faithful reinstatement" of the Mack building.


In a joint statement, Professor Macbeth and Ms Bennie said: “Firstly, we would like to thank the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for their meticulous approach to this incredibly complex investigation, and for their steadfast commitment to establishing the facts and the cause of the 2018 fire. 

"It has been a very difficult time for the city, and in particular our closest neighbours, for students, staff and the wider heritage sector all of whom have been impacted in myriad ways by both Mackintosh Building fires.

“While the SFRS Fire Investigation Report is detailed and comprehensive, we share the frustration that many will feel that the exact cause of the fire has not been identified. 

READ MORE: Cause of Glasgow School of Art fire 'inconclusive' but wilful fire raising cannot be ruled out

"Taking time to study and consider the report thoroughly, in particular the recommendations, we will now undertake and share a lessons learned exercise on all aspects of the restoration to inform future construction projects.

“The SFRS Fire Investigation Report is an important milestone allowing us to progress the Mackintosh Project as outlined last October in the Strategic Outline Business Case. 


"We are committed to the faithful reinstatement of the Mackintosh Building within the practical constraints of the regulatory environment, as an integral part of the GSA, as a catalyst and key driver for the social and economic revival of Garnethill and Glasgow and as an exemplar of sustainability for heritage buildings.”

Professor Alan Dunlop,a leading architect, said the report left "many questions" but had illustrated why the Mac building cannot be replicated.

He said: "Planning for twenty first century building and fire regulations did not form part of Mackintosh's creative agenda. 

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"Moreover, the other elements that made his masterwork so brilliant, the sweeping entrance staircase through the foyer then up onto the open first floor gallery; the double height studios with open access corridors; open staircases either end; double height landings and innovative plenum system could not be replicated without much compromise.

"It is clear that the Mac can not be replicated. Instead, any future "faithful reinstatement" has to be undertaken with absolute sensitivity and expertise.

"The Mac must remain a working building that meets the needs of a contemporary art school and combines the new with all of the original structure that can be saved and Mackintosh's unique legacy is respected."

He called for the launch of a dedicated trust to oversee the rebuild.