This time last year, things looked very different at Glasgow School of Art.

The fire that ravaged the work of the final-year students, all in the process of setting up their degree shows, left the historic Macintosh Building a shell, with the degree show cancelled. But if things were difficult for last year's graduates, many of whom have had time to put together their work with the help of Phoenix Bursaries, it has been no easy run for this year's fourth years.

"It's been a fairly difficult year," says Alistair Payne, Head of Fine Art. "We had five weeks to turn around the new studios for all the printmaking students last summer to make sure the students had studios to go into." The building in which this year's Fine Art degree show is housed was formerly the Trongate home of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games offices. A labyrinthine stack of studios and offices, the Tontine Building has an open atmosphere that is very different to the Mac.

"The students have grown to like the building, I think," says Payne. "The light is fantastic and it's a wonderful part of town with the Modern Institute, Transmission and the Tron close by." GSA has spent the last two weeks taking down the studios and rethinking the internal design to produce a serried exhibition space. "It's an easy building to get lost in. In the Mac, you'd miss work if you didn't go into a room on a normal studio day, let alone the exhibition itself. I think the fluidity of the space here works really well."

It does, and it doesn't, if my own experience this week is anything to go by. The trick is knowing what fire escape you've reached (they all look the same on the plan) and which doors, Alice In Wonderland like, you have to seek out in unexpected corners. Beware of the third floor in this regard - there's a hidden door to a whole 'dark room' of video and installation that is very easy to miss.

But beyond the need for advanced orienteering skills - or a willingness to simply give yourself up to Fate - there is much to admire in this show, although there is also work that feels a little wan. There is intricate work and large-scale statements - in fact the space of the Tontine appears to have prodded many students towards the massive - a tendency to conceptual work that doesn't always communicate, and some fine film work.

There are nods to the political, from the Middle Class Party offices to a gauze quilt embroidered with racist slurs. There are some nice quirky touches too. Bryony Rose's kinetic paper sculptures rotate in a classically-skewed world scenario. Catriona Reid's built-up corridor to a viewpoint out over a back alley is nicely done, rather like climbing a mountain to get to the best vantage point, or being channelled along a one-way exit to oblivion from the top floor. Nathan Cook's grey track-suited protagonist slow-mo dances to a warped soundtrack, hugs or wrestles in the dark, and throws a Frisbee to himself from two opposing projections. In another space, with some understated wit, student Michael Barr has lovingly created what appears to be a vast and unwieldy instrument 'case' or assembly bench for a one man band, lined in blue velvet.

In prints, Euphrosyne Andrews work is very well done, with graphical prints, daubed freeform on wall tiles, printed exactingly or created into moulded textiles. Catherine Woodward's installation of thin wooden batons tacked onto the wall above films of a woman dismantling a wooden palette and commuters crowding onto a train was also effective, the evocative sound of geese honking from a third monitor.

There was evocation, too, of innocence and loss in Edyta Majewska's lovely series of snapshot-films of a small girl playing outside. A series of monitors showed the girl in different stages of play in different locations around what appeared to be her home - walking in fields, playing with mirrors, singing; on the wall behind, captured, still rural buildings, ostensibly empty.

Among many students making full use of the vertical space, Megan Leal Causton fielded towering abstract canvases varnished glossily over expressive paintwork. Elsewhere, three students - Chitra Sangtani, Lewis Prosser and Martha Simms - presented an effectively nightmarish joint installation based on the vacuous nature of the televised game show.

Payne, who has 650 students in Fine Art under his remit, although he does not teach all of them, has watched the students over the past year and noted how they are integrating into the Glasgow art scene.

"It seems quite a poignant show to me," he says. "It's underplayed but powerful in its own right. I think it's a response to what has happened in the last year. There's a lot of work that's just a little humorous. It's a lovely attribute. It's serious but the students have learnt to have fun. They've made work under very complex circumstances this year. Turning up in a new building on the first day of your fourth year is not easy. There have been complications for them, but they're all planning ahead. They're a close knit group."

Fine Art Degree Show, Glasgow School of Art, The Tontine Building, 20 Trongate, Glasgow (0141 353 4500, until June 20, Mon-Thu, 10am-9pm; Fri, 10am-7pm; Sat/Sun, 10am-5pm