September 15, 2009
by Canadian Architect
Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with Glasgow-based JM Architects, has won the international design competition for the new building of the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) on the site opposite Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Masterwork. The new building will significantly enhance the teaching, learning and research facilities available to GSA students and staff and the access, which the public will have to their work. The competition to find an architect-led team that will ultimately create the building design, was organized by GSA.
The selection committee, chaired by Barcelona-based architect David MacKay, selected Steven Holl Architects with JM Architects by unanimous vote. According to a statement from the Glasgow School of Art: “The selection committee considered that Steven Holl Architects’ work showed a poetic use of light and their submission demonstrated a singular creative vision, scale of ambition, profound clarity and a respectful rivalry for the Mackintosh Building. The committee believed that Holl’s approach to the craft of building, his understanding of the opportunities of new technology and an enjoyment of the challenges of sustainable design, promised a great step forward in the development of architecture in an urban setting.”
Steven Holl Architects’ strategy was inspired by Mackintosh’s inventive manipulation of the building section for a tremendous variety of light. The plan for the new Glasgow School of Art draws upon the push-pull typology of light of the Mackintosh building but moves forward using a new language of different light. The building is composed of studio volumes shaped by light and connected by a “circuit of connection”, which encourages the creative contact central to the workings of the school.
The street level will open up connecting school and city. The envisioned building skin is 100% recycled glass with an intelligent solar cavity harvesting heat in winter and cooling in summer.
Steven Holl said, “One hundred years after completion, Mackintosh’s building continues to inspire as a work of architecture and a place to make art. The invention of an original architectural language is as fresh today as it was then. Its intensity of detail, light and material calls for the highest aspirations of a phenomenologically driven architecture of our time. We feel the urgency of recovering the integral action of “thinking and making” in the use of the highest new technologies available. We imagine the new Glasgow School of Art to be a celebration of knowledge: the phenomenological and experiential joys of perception supercharged by the techniques of