Glasgow & West Scotland

Library bay prototype to help art school restoration

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Media captionThe library before the blaze

A full-size prototype of a library bay is to be built as part of restoration work for Glasgow School of Art's (GSA) fire-damaged Mackintosh building.

Edinburgh-based joinery firm Laurence McIntosh is to create the structure based on a design researched and developed by Page\Park architects.

It is hoped the work will help test the materials and techniques used to construct the original library.

The main library construction is scheduled to begin early next year.

Image copyright Glasgow School of Art
Image caption Left: visualisation of the reconstructed library interior. Right: the fire damaged building and the original library before the blaze

Work on the prototype will be undertaken this spring and is expected to take about two months to complete.

Project manager of the Mackintosh Building Restoration, Sarah MacKinnon, said it was a massive step forward for the project.

"This process will provide invaluable, practical information about the supply chain for the tulip wood, the construction method and the finishing of the wood," she said.

Laurence McIntosh director, David MacDonald, said it was a dream contract.

He said: "This year we're celebrating 70 years of joinery and cabinet making at the very highest level; we've restored prestigious buildings before, but the Mack is something special.

"Our whole team of over 50 craftsmen, joiners and apprentices is excited to contribute to the Mackintosh legacy."

The prototype's specification was developed following research into the library's design and construction from sources including the GSA's archives and the original drawings held in the Hunterian.

After the Mackintosh building blaze, an investigation by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service concluded it was caused by flammable gases from a canister of expanding foam.

The report said the gases ignited as they came into contact with the hot surface of a projector.

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