Glasgow School of Art destroyed in second blaze

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The Glasgow School of Art has been ravaged by another major fire four years after part of the building was destroyed by flames. Restoring the Mackintosh building could cost hundreds of millions of pounds and years of work

Kier was working on the major restoration project following the first blaze in May 2014.

The contractor has been on site since the summer of 2016 overseeing repair work worth £35m.

The two-stage project has involved the restoration of the Mackintosh building’s roof before restoring the west wing and upgrading the east wing interior of the school.

Kier’s contract was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.

The latest blaze broke out of Friday night (15 June) and has taken 120 firefighters to get under control.

The blaze engulfed the Glasgow School of Arts and spread to neighbouring buildings.

Experts are predicting that the entire project may have to be rebuilt, depending on the assessment of the present building’s facade, which could see the cost of a rebuild soar to £100m or more.

Glasgow School of Art
© Police Scotland

Professor Billy Hare, lecturer in construction management Glasgow Caledonian outlined three options for the future of the Mackintosh Building.

A conventional demolition and new rebuild which could cost around £50m would be the cheapest option, according to the professor.

The second option of facade retention, would result in a new structure being raised on the site of the Mackintosh, retaining many of the well-known architectural works previously on both the exterior and interior of the building.

This could cost total up to anything between £75m and £100m.

The most expensive option would be a brick-by-brick reconstruction of the entire Mackintosh Building, resulting in a “replica” of the world-famous structure.

A Kier spokesperson said: “Kier has been working with the Glasgow School of Art since 2016 on the restoration of the Mackintosh building and so we share the devastation felt by the School and the wider public at this time.

“We are working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in their investigation and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further whilst an investigation is ongoing.”

Muriel Gray, chair of the Board of Governors, said: “We now have a difficult waiting game until Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Glasgow City Council and associated agencies have completed their investigations into the condition of the building.”

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’ve spoken to the principal of the art school already and the Scottish Government stands ready to do anything we reasonably can to help ensure that the building has a future.

“It’s too early to say what that might entail or what that might look like.”

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