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Lawrence, R.
Publisher: Construction History Society
Languages: English
Types: Article
This paper discusses the Glasgow School of Art in the context of the wider history of the Victorian art school as a distinctive building type. It explores the precedents for the school in Manchester, Birmingham, and London, and reveals that its design was informed by predominantly environmental considerations. The internal spaces of Victorian art schools display an unprecedented qualitative concern for the provision of light in the context of the soot-laden skies of the industrial city. The Glasgow School of Art was also equipped with a mechanical plenum system that provided clean and tempered air in variable quantities to the different spaces of the building. The innovativeness of this system has been widely disputed - this paper aims to cast light on its precedents and situate its significance in the wider history of the development of building servicing. This includes discussion of a contemporary report detailing the engineers' commissioning of the building in 1910, as well as a recent study undertaken to evaluate the environmental management of the school today.The paper demonstrates that the Glasgow School of Art represents a key milestone in the development of our modem conception of the internal environment of large buildings, brought about in response to the atmospheric degradation of the industrial city. The sophisticated integration of the environmental qualities of the Arts and Crafts movement with thoroughly modem servicing technology is indicative not only of Mackintosh's principle of 'total design', but also of the architectural possibilities inherent in the construction of a particularly specialised building type in a specific time and place.
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    • (London: Faber & Faber, 1936). 2 T. Howarth, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement (London: Routledge
    • and Kegan Paul, 1952). 3 Ibid., 74. 4 Ibid., 75. 6 K. Frampton, Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and
    • Twentieth Century Architecture (Cambridge, Mass., London: MIT Press, 1995), 2. 7 D. Brett, C.R. Mackintosh: The Poetics of Workmanship (London: Reaktion Books, 1992),
    • 99; Brett's argument is that “our relationship to structures is infused with bodily expectations
    • Ibid., 75-76. 12 Department of Science and Art, Directory, with Regulations for Establishing and
    • Conducting Schools of Art (London: Department of Science and Art, 1888), 114. 13 Ibid. 14 J. F. Physick, The Victoria and Albert Museum: The History of Its Building (Oxford:
    • Phaidon Christie's, 1982), 97-99. 15 Department of Science and Art, Tenth Report (London: Department of Science and Art,
    • 1862), 131. 16 N. Pevsner, Lancashire: The Industrial And Commercial South (New Haven: Yale
    • University Press, 1969), 313. 17 For more on the history of the evolution of the art school building type, see R. Lawrence,
    • “The Evolution of the Victorian Art School,” The Journal of Architecture (forthcoming). 18 The Glasgow School of Art, “Report of Deputation Appointed to Visit Manchester,
    • Birmingham and London,” March 1893, 3. 19 Glasgow School of Art Building Committee, “Minutes,” n.d., 2-20. 20 R. G. Hatton, Guide to the Establishment and Equipment of Art Classes and Schools of Art:
    • With Estimates of Probable Cost, Etc. (London: Chapman & Hall, 1895), 37-38. 21 These descriptions are taken from the annotations on Mackintosh's sections of the
    • completed building. 22 These daylight factor calculations were conducted by the author in February 2009, between
    • 1230 and 1300 hours, with external lux readings falling from 10,030 to 7,600 lux. As such,
  • No related research data.
  • No similar publications.

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