Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art building is to undergo a major conservation and access project. © The Glasgow School of Art/ Alan McAteer 2003.
The public will soon be able to get a closer look at the handiwork of one of Scotland’s most famous architects thanks to a £4.4 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
In 1896 Charles Rennie Mackintosh, a graduate himself, designed a new building to house the Glasgow School of Art, which has since become one of the city’s most celebrated landmarks.
Staff at the school are now planning a wholesale refurbishment of the famous Mackintosh Building, as well as making a bid to boost visitor numbers by improving public access.
"This award recognises the importance of the Mackintosh Building and confirms its status as one of the most significant buildings in Scotland," Professor Seona Reid, director of The Glasgow School of Art, said of the HLF grant.
The Mackintosh Library inside The Glasgow School of Art. © The Glasgow School of Art 1992.
"The Mackintosh Building will now be refurbished to the highest specification and will be preserved for future generations of students and visitors to enjoy. We are all greatly excited about making our collections and archives accessible to a wider range of people."
Work on the building will include the restoration of original features and removal of modern additions, plus a full programme of timber and stone repair.
Conservation work will also be carried out on historic collections such as the Mackintosh furniture and textiles collection, while a new research centre will be created with environmentally controlled storage of archive material.
Among the new public facilities will be an interpretation centre offering free public access to exhibitions and displays about Mackintosh, including a new furniture gallery and improved temporary exhibition gallery.
The building shows off Mackintosh's disinctive style. © The Glasgow School of Art / Eric Thorburn 2003.
The current guided tour will be extended to include new historic apartments including the Director's room, the Boardroom and the basement.
The project is expected to cost a total of £7 million pounds. While a HLF development grant of £153,500 and a further earmarked HLF grant of £4,466,000 will cover over half, funding to match it will need to be raised.
Bodies such as Historic Scotland, the Strathclyde European Partnership, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Enterprise Glasgow will be approached for extra funding.
"HLF is committed to opening up Scotland’s heritage to as many people as possible so we are delighted to indicate our support for this tremendously exciting project," explained Colin McLean, the HLF Manager for Scotland.
A corridor in the Mackintosh Building. © The Glasgow School of Art / Eric Thorburn 2003.
"The combination of a new visitor centre and the opening up of areas which until now have remained closed to public view will give people from near and far the opportunity to explore, enjoy and learn about one of Scotland’s most influential and popular architects and designers."
The award is the latest in a string of HLF grants awarded to projects in the city of Glasgow.
To date a massive £83 million has been dished out to projects ranging from community and youth groups to national institutions such as the new Riverside Transport Museum and the city’s ‘favourite building’, Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.
Earlier in June, the only church built to the designs of Charles Rennie Mackintosh - Queen’s Cross Church in Maryhill – was given £357,000 towards a restoration project.