IT is the ruined, but still potent, and world-famous symbol of the Glasgow School of Art.

Currently burnt-out, the Mackintosh Building is still at the heart, and perhaps is the soul, of the art school.

However, should the building, disastrously ruined by fire twice in four years, still be run by the educational institution?

That is the provocative question that will be posed to Members of the Scottish Parliament tomorrow by one of Scotland's leading Mackintosh experts, the writer and gallerist Roger Billcliffe.

Mr Billcliffe, a vocal critic of the GSA's responsibility for, and handling of, the building's first fire in 2014, has suggested in a submission to MSPs that the GSA should be "relieved of the responsibility" of the 'Mack'.

He says that by the time the building is rebuilt - which GSA chair Muriel Gray said could take up to six years - it will have not been used as a place of teaching for more than a dozen years.

Billcliffe believes that the building should be treated as a "world class work of art" and could be used as artist accommodation and for exhibitions.

READ MORE: The Mackintosh Building will be rebuilt says chair

In the conclusion to his submission he says that, because of the unanswered questions around the 2014 fire, the GSA is "unfit" to be a custodian of the building.

Mr Billcliffe said: "Temporary accommodation put in force after the 2014 fire will likely have had to be replaced by more permanent arrangements.

"This seems to be a suitable time to consider relieving the School of its responsibility for the Mackintosh building - something it is believed to have considered in the 1990s when it offered the building to a government agency - and removing the inherent dangers associated with its occupation by a large body of students.

"This would remove from the School the apparent burden of running a major ‘museum’ and also satisfy the growing demand for access, particularly after the injection of £30m of public, private and charitable donations to restore the building following the 2014 fire."

Mr Billcliffe, whose latest book is 'Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Art of the Four', believes the Mackintosh Building, consumed in a blaze for which no cause has yet been established, should be rebuilt from the architect's plans.

READ MORE: How the Mack will be remade: Muriel Gray interview

The Committee is also hearing evidence from Eileen Reid, the former head of widening participation at the school, the architect Malcolm Fraser, and Stuart Robertson, director of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society.

The prospect of the GSA giving up their right to the building appears unlikely.

However, there was much anger expressed after the June fire, and how two blazes could have occurred in four years.

The first fire, in 2014, was sparked by an projector igniting some expanded foam being used by a student for a degree show.

Until the police and fire service investigation into the new blaze is complete and published, observers, the public and alumni are in want of reply to questions over cause and responsibility.

READ MORE: The new Mack will be paid for by insurance and fund raising

A spokesman for the GSA said: "The Mackintosh Building was commissioned and designed as an art school and GSA is fully committed to it returning as a working art school."

In the Herald on Sunday, the chair of the GSA board, Muriel Gray, was adamant the GSA will restore the Mackintosh Building.

Ms Gray said: "This time it will be built with such knowledge and expertise that we have learned since 2014.

"We are resolved that the Mackintosh comes back as a working art school, as a major player, a cultural leader for the city and the Scottish economy."

She added: "Imagine the thrill of saying, 'We have an architect for this project: who is it? Charles Rennie Mackintosh.'"

"The roads lead back to Mackintosh, absolutely and non-negotiably.

"As far as we are concerned that decision we made in 2014 has just been interrupted."

It has been estimated that the cost could be more than £100m, but Ms Gray said she hoped this would be met by insurance and a private funding raising initiative, rather than rely on public funds.

READ MORE: Mackintosh expert on the rebuild at book festival

The building was insured through an Owner Controlled Insurance Programme (OCIP).

This was held in the name of the GSA and Kier Construction Scotland Limited, which was in charge of the works at the building.

The restoration of the school following the 2014 fire was due to cost £49m in total.

A paper for the Committee says that the GSA have "communicated with donors regarding the 2018 fire and no donor has requested a return of their donation."