In 2014, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art was assaulted by fire.

The neighbourhood was evacuated, people watched in horror as flames engulfed the building.

The damage was devastating but was contained by extraordinary feats of firefighting to the west wing of the building, and although the exquisite library was lost, no-one was killed or injured.

This time, the flames were hungrier; they lit up the night sky and the neighbourhood again cleared of its residents.

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The damage is brutal: the entire interior, east and west, is gutted; the roof is gone. The renovated library is lost, and what is left of the building is a shell.

There is disbelief, and a simmering, almost palpable anger at this latest catastrophe.

Glasgow Council have stated that “there is a consensus emerging that the intention of the building control people, Historic Environment Scotland, and the art school is to save the building”.

But surely the question is ought it to be replicated?

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a superb architect, a gifted artist, and above all, a dynamic innovator. It is my contention that he would not approve of pastiche or replication.

Mackintosh won the competition for a new art school in 1897, while working as a draughtsman for Honeyman and Keppie, and attending the old art school part-time.

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The building was completed in two phases, the first phase in 1899. Over the following years, Mackintosh matured as an architect, honed his pared but organic design skills, and completed the second phase, the west wing.

The entire building was testimony to his creative genius and artistry.

Everyone loves Mackintosh now, but he was not always so well regarded in his home city.

It was 15 years before Honeyman and Keppie deigned to make him a partner, and he did not thrive. He left Glasgow with his wife and fellow artist Margaret Macdonald when architectural work dried up.

Neither has Mackintosh’s built heritage been well protected. In 1945, the Bruce Plan proposed demolishing all of Glasgow’s Victorian and Georgian city centre, including the Glasgow School of Art.

Glasgow’s notorious 1965 road developments obliterated Martyrs School in favour of a ring road and a football field. It was not until the mid-1960s that Mackintosh’s legacy was reappraised.

So, what will happen now? There will be an investigation into the cause of the fire, and a search for fault.

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There are questions to be answered about fire protection measures and, if sprinklers were installed, why they were not operational.

At the moment, the future of Mackintosh’s School of Art is uncertain while the structural integrity of what remains is confirmed.

Instead of attempting to turn back time and rushing to create a sad replica, I hope that people will honour Mackintosh by considering alternatives that reflect his extraordinary legacy.

I suggest that a full public debate is warranted that includes the option of an international competition to design a new art school.

A longer version of this piece was first published in the architecture journal Dezeen.