If buildings could talk, The Mack could tell you some stories. But this latest chapter in its chequered history takes some beating.

For over a century this majestic building which sits on a hill off Sauchiehall Street has been the beating heart of Glasgow's cultural life. It's no exaggeration to say that Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Art Nouveau masterwork has fostered some of the brightest and most creative talents Scotland has ever produced.

It survived two world wars and one almost catastrophic fire four years ago. Now, with the news that large sections of The Mack will be "dismantled" within days following a second inferno two weeks ago, it looks like the end is nigh for The Mack.

No-one could have predicted the turn of events which led to the almost-renovated building being burned to a crisp. It was late on a Friday night – graduation day as it happened for Glasgow School of Art's latest cohort of students – when the fire was first noticed by a passing policeman. Within an hour, it had spread like wildfire. The flames licked over to the adjacent O2 ABC venue and soon its roof caved had in like a sunken blancmange.

Today, all around The Mack's majestic teetering walls, there is both physical and mental turmoil. Since that fateful night, people have been unable to return to their homes in the area around Garnethill and Sauchiehall Street. Businesses in the immediate vicinity have been locked out, with business owners and staff facing penury. Crowdfunding campaigns have even been started by small non-funded creative business based in the nearby CCA on Sauchiehall Street looking for financial help to pay staff.

Yesterday, First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, revealed during First Minister's Questions at Holyrood that a hardship fund to help people forced from their homes thanks to a safety cordon around the building will give £1,500 to residents affected which will be matched by Glasgow City Council.

In the immediate aftermath of the fire the painter, Alison Watt, who graduated from GSA in the late 1980s and whose artist father James also graduated from the art school in the 1950s, talked on national radio about her intense feelings of loss on hearing that The Mack had been engulfed by flames yet again.

Turner Prize winning artist and GSA alumni, Douglas Gordon, flew back to Scotland from his home in Paris to see "the corpse of the Mackintosh". He speaks for many former students and staff when he added, "part of my life has been cut out."

It all feels so distant from the cold February day last year when Gordon led me on a tour of the empty Mack for a feature in The Herald magazine. "It [The Mack] was a place of real freedom," he told me. "I haven't lived in Glasgow for nearly 30 years but it all feels really immediate. I feel both nostalgic and melancholic all at the same time."

While we were there, Gordon picked up a couple of pieces of green plaster from the floor which had fallen off one of the studio walls. "Here, take this," he whispered conspiratorially. I still have these shards of green plaster from The Mack. They are sitting winking at me as I write.

In the two weeks since the Mack fire, mark two, I have watched as people's feelings turned from shock to anger. I have read accusations of mismanagement on the art school's part and rumours that there was inadequate insurance in place.

A statement put out by the Glasgow School of Art the day after put it so baldly, the Mackintosh Building had been undergoing a period or extensive restoration following the fire in 2014 'and therefore has not been a part of the GSA's operational campus for four years."

The blame game started immediately in the media and on social media. All over my virtual world – admittedly filled with people linked to the creative community in Scotland – there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth. People are livid and looking for someone to blame.

Where was the sprinkler system in the renovated building, people asked? That same question was asked four years ago and the same people feel they didn't get answers.

Leading GSA-trained architect, Alan Dunlop, prompted anger when he suggested that The Mack should be demolished and an international competition be launched to create a new building with the same spirit. Mackintosh was an innovator, he said, and he would not have wanted a facsimile…

Since Mackintosh isn't around to give his view, we will never know.


Friday's cartoon by Steven Camley

Labour MP Paul Sweeney, who is director of the Glasgow Building Preservation Trust, was one of the first public figures to be allowed behind the cordon around The Mack after the fire. His observations that the walls were still solid led to some optimism in among the initial gloom. Last night, he said he was “open minded” about holding a public inquiry, but insisted there first needed to be more clarity about how the fire started.

So what was it that was so special about The Mack? In my eyes, it was like the most charismatic lover you'd ever been with – or never been with. I'd have given anything to have been one of the thousands of students who passed through these magical swing doors in Mackintosh's famous elongated art nouveau script with the words ART (on the in door) and SCHOOL (on the out door).

I visited it as a sixteen-year-old and fell in love on the spot with the place. How could I not, with these doors and that library? When I went home to Ayrshire and told my normally mild-mannered dad I wanted to apply to get go to this magical place, he swiftly put the kibosh on the idea. "But how would you get a job as an artist," he spluttered?

As it turned out, getting a job as anything in the 1980s was going to be hard but if my subsequent degree in English and Scottish Literature had any use, it led me (eventually) into writing about art. And that meant I got to visit The Mack as an almost-insider.

As one alumni and former member of GSA's management staff wrote to me in the wee sma' hours of June 16: "We all smoked in the building and had done so for decades. Stamping cigarettes out on timber floors surrounded by white spirit. Rennie, the librarian, was a chronic chain smoker in his wee office in the library. Maybe this is too much information, but I'm probably one of many who made love in the building. This latest news is death."

The fixtures and fittings rescued from the last fire at GSA remain off-site. Its beautiful library had been rebuilt and is sitting in a warehouse in Edinburgh. Like a confused child piece waiting for a home.

I sent the painter Alison Watt a message last night asking her what one thing she'd like to tell The Mack.

Almost instantly, she wrote back: "You continue to live inside all of us who love you."