Being accepted to study fine art at The Glasgow School of Art was a huge deal.

I’d dreamed of studying there since I was 15, wandering around a deserted Mack building in my school uniform (tie in pocket) on an open day which by chance had fallen on a day of industrial action, so the whole place was like the Mary Celeste.

I remember traipsing up the front steps, pushing against the brass plate on the tall black swing door, polished by millions of hands over the last 100 years, the word “ART” carved into it in that distinctive Mackintosh font.

The first thing that hits you is the smell. The smell of the Mac is unforgettable. Wood. Oil paint. White spirit. Linseed oil. Glue. Sawdust. Dust. Canvas.

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The first thing you see is the janitor’s booth. Then the steps leading up to the gallery and the steps leading down to the wood shop and the art supply shop.

The doors to the painting studios were the same weight and had the same tight spring as the front door, and they abruptly swung shut behind you as you entered. The painting studios were magnificent tall spaces with huge windows. There were painting stations for students set up all around each studio.

I wandered all over the Mac that day, up every stairway, under every archway and statue lined corridor, along the hen run that looked out over a grey and rainy Glasgow, and down the other side.

The only other soul I met was a 4th year on the upper level of the last painting studio I looked at. “Hello” I said. “Hello” she replied, startled, from the top of a set of ladders. I walked up the stairs to have a closer look at what she was doing. She was painting a gigantic self-portrait.

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“What’s your name?” I asked. “Jenny" she said. “I’m Fran”, I said “Nice to meet you Fran,” she said, and got straight back to it, scrawling words in cursive across her huge canvas. Years later I realised it was a pre-degree show Jenny Saville.

When I saw our Mack building burning, it went to my core. Then, 4 years later, to see it burn again, was too much. It felt like the absolute end of something.

Unless you have studied there, you wouldn’t really fully understand what I mean by that. If you were lucky enough to study there you’d know exactly what I mean.

The Mack is more than a building. It is the physical embodiment of the very essence of what makes Glasgow the most creative city in the United Kingdom. Having it sit there, silently awaiting it's fate is a heartbreaker.