A Phoenix in Glasgow

There’s something very special about some buildings: not merely the great and the grand, but those whose design shows a level of thought and concern for fitness for purpose that both moves and inspires. There aren’t that many of these, from any era, and when they’ve been around long enough to develop a many-layered patina from being put to their intended use, they’re special indeed. One such was – and will be again – Glasgow School of Art.

And this is where I become unsure of tense: I’d started putting this gallery together about a fortnight ago, using images from two trips to the GSA, the most recent less than a week before the devastating fire that tore through the Mackintosh Building. This time I’d gone along to look at the new Reid Building, to see just how it complemented (or indeed contradicted) the genius of the original. What I didn’t expect was that I’d be finishing the gallery as a tribute to what’s been lost. Yes, it will be rebuilt and, thanks to the efforts of the Scottish Fire Service, the destruction seems to have been far less than was first feared, but a great deal has been destroyed and it will take another century to layer another set of memories on the replacement work. I look forward to extending this gallery with images from my first visit after its restoration.