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According to the American architect Robert Venturi, "the north fa├žade of the Glasgow School of Art is one of the greatest achievements of all time, comparable in scale and majesty to Michelangelo." However, for all its world renown and international acclaim, the building continues to function over a century later as its architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, always intended - as a working 'living' art school.\ud \ud Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, the Glasgow School of Art is faced with the challenge of:\ud - maintaining the Mackintosh Building as, first and foremost, a respected teaching facility for upwards of 200 artists at the heart of a busy campus with over 1600 students\ud - recognising the historic importance of the Mackintosh Building and trying to preserve the fabric of this unique structure whilst maintaining an important museum collection of almost 3000 artefacts within the confines of a working school\ud - satisfying the needs of an ever-increasing number of cultural visitors to Glasgow seeking out the Mackintosh Building - over 21,000 people on guided tours in 2003 alone, with a predicted rise in numbers of 5-10% per year\ud \ud As a university museum, the Glasgow School of Art is committed to balancing the needs of education, heritage and tourism within this one important building. An application for a multi-million pound Heritage Lottery grant (submitted in June 2004) should, if successful, be a significant step forward, because as mere custodians of the Mackintosh Building, the Glasgow School of Art has a responsibility to make sure that it gets this balance right. Surely the architect himself would have approved?
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