Huyen Anh Do
The Glasgow School of Art 2.0
This year I have taken an interest in learning from historical buildings and reinterpreting the architectural idea behind that building to create an intervention. The site I have chosen is the Mackintosh building and the extended area within the block, in order to attempt to explore the relationship between the GSA community to the lost Mackintosh building, and investigate a new learning environment in the post-pandemic period, particularly the communication aspect, and finally reconnect the community, give the art school a new definition.
Mackintosh building symbolised the long-standing history of the Art School in Glasgow, at the time was a significant highlight, by standing out from the rest of the context architecturally. Though a building is just a physical object, what value is the legacy it left behind, and how that will benefit the community? As long as a community stays strong, a new building to present the character of that community can always be created. Demolishing the remains of the Mackintosh building and creating something new does nothing else but enrich the history and culture of the GSA community. What I have taken from the ruins and want to pass it to the future was Mackintosh’s design approaches and ideas behind the building. My proposal aims to experiment with light, taking that as a main design-driven factor, the organisation in programmes, how spaces are connected coherently and start with simplicity, functionality to let other design qualities speak for themselves.
The site consists of 4 main buildings, the Library, the School of Fine Art, the School of Architecture and the Complex School, including the Stimulation and Visualisation School and the Innovation School. Buildings vary in size fulfilling the required area and creating a dynamic for the campus. Shared programmes are arranged on the same levels, acting as a plinth while individual programmes from each school are placed above, in separate buildings. The ‘plinth’ can also be seen as a meeting point for all schools, at the same time creating gathering opportunities within each school, strengthening smaller communities to enhance the big community. Courtyard and open space is considered as a shared connecting point between the school, allowing daylight to the space while engaging nature to inhabitation.
Along 4 new buildings in the site, the School of Design is maintained (Reid building), GSA office and service building is placed across Sauchiehall street. The new GSA campus is now placed as a strip along Renfrew street to Sauchiehall street, and the centre of the site becomes the heart of the campus. Instead of creating an enclosed campus, the New GSA Campus reaches out to the public, engaging with the context, connecting not only the GSA community but the GSA to the public as well. The New Library will be moved to the West of the site, aiming to received West lighting, similarly to the Library of the lost Mackintosh building. The Architecture School is moved towards Sauchiehall street to be closer to the public. The School Complex places next to Architecture School on Sauchiehall street. And finally, the School of Fine Art, is at a higher topography level to maximise the potential of receiving North light.
The Architecture School is chosen to be focused on in terms of detailed design. It consists of 5 levels, ranging from public connection, the gallery space on the ground floor, to studios and offices, then an open roof terrace for the community to gather. The aim for this School is that it should feel open to the public, allowing students to display their works, and for the public to be inspired, at the same time promoting the Architecture School as well as the GSA. All spaces should have plenty of daylight, yet cannot be too glary and privacy is required. Hence, the placement of the building is on the main public street, and the facade from all sides are open. Fiber concrete screen is proposed, holding by steel support structure on round columns, wrapping two sides of the building and the roof, providing privacy needed, blocking glary sunlight but still ensuring the views for users.