Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Glasgow School of Art - some new thinking

Steven Holl's new building (right) makes the Mackintosh building look ancient, small and horrible
You know, sometimes the most obvious things in the world escape people because they are blinded by history, tradition and habit. Two of my fans wrote to me last week suggesting that I should write a review of the proposed new building for Glasgow School of Art. As you can imagine, I was delighted that my expert view on this matter was sought but at the same time, I was horrified to uncover the real truth of what is happening on Garterhill and the sloppy thinking that has dogged the project so far.
a view of the fantastic interior of Holl's building
So last night I settled down to write this post while listening to a cassette tape of The Lark Ascending by one of my favourite German composers, Ralph Von Williams - marvellous stuff! First of all some basics. The proposal will be constructed on the site of two wonderful buildings by Keppie Henderson and Partners - the Newbery Tower and the Foulis Building. I'm trying not to show bias here - as you all know, Keppies is an all time favourite of mine - but it is quite ridiculous to contemplate the demolition of these fine structures, especially when an older building across the street is apparently to be kept.

Now I've heard all about Mackintosh - in fact I always carry one of his raincoats in my briefcase - but he should not be regarded with any respect. After all he slunk off from Scotland to work in England for a bit, then went to France to do a bit of painting and decorating - so he was effectively a tax exile!
another view of Holl's big building with the old ruin in the background
The Art School needs more space - that seems clear. Doubtless they also need space for student parking and that sort of thing. I wonder if they have thought of moving to a greenfield site or perhaps a business park where there is plentiful parking? Probably not because they are wedded to that old wreck of a building on Garterhill. But such a plan would release their multiple sites in the area for more profitable uses and the dynamic Scottish property development industry would welcome such a proposal.
a sketch by Steven Holl showing the antiquated Art School on the left and his contemporary proposal on the right - fantastic!
Now in relation to the proposed new building I must say I like it! It has presence and it is strikingly contemporary and large, towering over its insignificant neighbour across the street but, and that is a big but, it is facing the wrong way! The obvious answer is to demolish the Mackintosh building, keep the far superior Keppie buildings and build the Stephen Hall building on the site of the old Art School. Job done - problem solved.


Anonymous said...

You are a complete cunt aren't you? Why do you bother to write this shit? Wow! You are a genuine asshole - the real thing!

Anonymous said...

Is the article a joke or is that really the writer's opinion?

Ralph *Vaughan* Williams was English, no?

Gallison said...

Good article Dave - keep it up - not as many posts here as usual - are you slacking?

As for anonymous # 1 & 2 - Dave writes this stuff because some people out here actually understand the tone with which it is written