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Architectural icon lost

19 June 2018
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Eugene Kim

Home DevelopmentsIconic architectural treasure devastated.

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The world of architecture and the nation may have lost an iconic treasure this week. The Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh building – completed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1909 – has been ravaged by a towering inferno and fears are rising that it cannot be saved. It is the second fire in 4 years, and was a lot worse than the first.


from the ground up

This was a bastion of the Art Nouveau architecture movement, and is considered to be the masterpiece among Mackintosh’s substantial architecture portfolio. One thing to note was his design from the details up, or from the inside out. He also had an astute understanding of the properties of light. He could light a room most effectively by shading a tall window 2/3 from the top, with a strong shaft of light bursting from the bottom third.

photo of interior of architect's flat for blog on architectural icon lostInterior of Mackintosh’s flat, with furniture designed by himself and his wife.

master detailing

His watercolours and stained glass showed strong geometric corners fused with organic rose heads. His influences were from his native Scotland, the Art Nouveau movement and the popular Japanese influence of the time. Unfortunately this is an architectural icon lost to possibly preventable fire devastation.

image with detail of wrought metal and stained glass lamp for blog on architectural icon lostDetail of wrought metal and stained glass lamp by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Some of his other significant achievements include also The Willow Tearooms and Hillhouse, Helensburgh. Mackintosh entered a competition for Liverpool Cathedral, but the winning design was by Sir Charles Gilbert Scott, designer of the Tate Modern and joint designer of Battersea Power Station. Mackintosh was a contemporary of acclaimed American architect; Frank Lloyd Wright.



smart smoke detectors

After the first fire, a system was put in, although it was not automated. Also sprinklers had not yet been installed when the second fire broke out. It is not just public buildings – but residential properties – which can greatly benefit from the early warning system automated detectors provide. Clearly, smart fire prevention is well worth the investment.


what is the difference?

Your phone app gets a notification when your smoke alarm goes off, which can clearly save life and greatly limit property damage. This functionality pinpoints the inadequacy of non-automated smoke & heat detection systems in public (and even residential) buildings. Even offsite, key staff can be alerted and precious minutes saved.


get in touch

If you would like a smart solution to fire prevention, have a look at our smart home article, or call our planning team to get you started with your automated fire detection system. Dial 0203 409 4215 or leave your details via the button below. Our planning team will contact you to arrange a free consultation and quotation.


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further reading

The Planning Portal is handy for information such as general and specific guidelines on fire safety – and although these are the prerogative of Building Control – it is good to be aware of them yourself so they can be accountable for your safety.


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Eugene Kim

Eugene Kim, Founder and Managing Director of Extension Architecture, has led the firm for over 14 years, consistently delivering quality solutions. His dedication has been key to the company's growth and success.

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