“Mackintosh’s School of Art is a universal masterpiece that has huge significance for Glasgow, for Scotland, for architecture in Britain. It’s part of the global heritage for 20th century architecture. There’s no building in Britain to match Glasgow School of Art. It’s a great, great work.”  

This accolade honoured GSA's centenary. In 2014 the iconic masterpiece became a semi-burnt-out shell; four years later a pile of dust.  

I am not the only one whose heart weeps at its needless loss, who rants and rages at two fires, two catastrophes, the second inferno eclipsing the first with its sheer intensity and total devastation. Many remember where they were when Kennedy was shot, John Lennon murdered, when Diana died, and when GSA went on fire. The second time we watched our phones in disbelief. Many cried. 

Ten years on shame on the Scottish Government. Both Paul Sweeney MSP and Pauline McNeill MSP criticise their lack of proactivity. “It's been nothing short of scandalous, another example of their Edinburgh-centric attitude. Scotland’s Culture Secretary would never allow this to happen in Edinburgh," they told me.

Shame on Glasgow City Council’s disregard for Scotland’s most significant building. They can't see the value in Mackintosh yet are ready to use him as a tourist attraction. The council even tried to demolish Mackintosh buildings. When I worked for STV in the 1980s we made a programme to save the Martyrs School.  

And shame on GSA. Zero progress, no rebuild, no transparency, no hope. Despite promises that it's committed to a rebuild, and will "reopen as a graduate school in 2030”, no architect has yet been appointed. It’s a joke. Why no architect?  

The Herald: The Mackintosh library buildingThe Mackintosh library building (Image: Getty)

Governance of GSA and all school affairs is the responsibility of its Board of Governors. They were entrusted to keep it safe, spend millions of UK government and Scottish Parliament funds. GSA was in their care. GSA were signing the cheques.

As former director Tony Jones said: "The current leadership should not be allowed anywhere near GSA in future. Their massive failure has lost us a world treasure, the jewel in Scotland’s crown. 

Ten years on no one has been held to account, removed from the board or apologised.  

Should GSA be rebuilt to its original specifications? Yes of course. I passionately believe that. Mackintosh is key to Glasgow, part of our identity. The only icon we have. Beloved of the city. Vast amounts of data from extensive laser surveys post-2014 make it possible to recreate every detail. 

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A competition for a new building is a non-starter. No one comes to Glasgow to see that, they come for MackintoshIf ever there was something in the public’s interest, it's this. Glasgow needs it, needs it back to fill the huge gap in the city centre, and the symbolic heartfelt hole left by two needless fires.  

Paris is rebuilding Notre Dame. Warsaw rebuilt an entire city for god's sake. GSA drags its feet. Or maybe deliberately holds back? With no transparency, how can we know? There is suspicion of whitewash. Will demolition contractors appear one day and GSA sell the site to developers? That’s one rumour.

So how much is it going to cost and where’s the cash coming from? GSA knows how much money they have, but refuse to say. GSA Director Penny Macbeth states they won't need a begging bowl. Can we be sure? Already a million pounds a year has gone on scaffolding plus £12m debris clearance - but still has no architect. The public has the right to answers. No redacting. 

Rumours abound. Was the building underinsured? Was it double insured (by both owner and contractor) and the battle between insurers to decide who stumps up the cash rages on. Given the problems anything is possible. 

In the last decade, costs have doubled. Many projects hit the skids due to alarmingly increased prices. So the original insurance may have left a gap in the cover sum. Availability of willing contractors is an issue. All is speculation in the face of stony silence from GSA.

Both fires were needless. Painter Alison Watt raged, “After what happened in 2014, this should have been the best-protected building in Glasgow.”

The Herald: Glasgow School of Art fire in 2014Glasgow School of Art fire in 2014 (Image: Newsquest)

The Mack building must be made into a trust. The teaching school is a separate entity. It’s too big a job for one person, one board. This has long been discussed, but GSA hang on to power. Recently it was announced the rebuild project “is chaired by GSA Director Ms Macbeth who has assumed the role of project sponsor, is leading the works and is directly responsible for delivery.” Crazy. How can anyone do both?  

The death of Mackintosh’s GSA has already spelt decline for the city of his birth, a decade long sore in the city’s core, disruption for Glaswegians and students who live and work nearby. But a decade on memories fade too, and some are too young to care, having never seen the Mack. It belongs to history, and urban legend. Grandparents tell tedious stories of Glasgow’s glory days. People move on. 

I now fear - not just that GSA will never be rebuilt - but that Mackintosh’s icon will not even be remembered. How big a tragedy is that? 

Clare Henry is a leading figure in the Scottish art world and former Herald art critic