Scottish architect will lead restoration of Mackintosh’s masterpiece

Page\Park has triumphed in the competition to find an architect to restore the fire-ravaged Mackintosh building.

The Glasgow practice beat 14 initial entries and a shortlist featuring Avanti, John McAslan and Edinburgh’s LDN Architects.

Page\Park’s appointment was announced by the Glasgow School of Art (GSA) this afternoon following presentations by all the finalists earlier this month.

GSA director Tim Inns said the judges had been impressed by the depth of knowledge among the team assembled by Page\Park, both of the building and of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Page\Park has experience working on the Mac – as lead designer of the conservation and access project in 2007-9 – and other Mackintosh buildings. It converted the old Glasgow Herald office into the Lighthouse architecture centre in 1999.

Inns praised a number of proposals from the winning practice, including setting up an external expert advisory panel for the restoration. The composition and role of this will be announced in the next few weeks.

Page\Park also presented “exciting proposals for expanding the legacy of the restoration by working with a new generation of creative talent”, he said.

And it produced a detailed analysis (attached – see Related Files) of a single bay and post in the Mackintosh library with the aim of establishing exactly what is known about the room’s principle elements prior to reconstruction.

The library, recognised as one of the finest examples of art nouveau in the world, was completely destroyed in the fire last May.

Inns said: “They displayed a superb methodology to the task of restoration, in particular their room-by-room analysis of the structure, materiality, craftsmanship and intent of Mackintosh in designing, specifying and overseeing the construction of his masterwork.

“They also bring an understanding of the building’s particular importance to Glasgow – its people and history – as well as of its status as an international design icon.”

David Page, head of architecture at Page\Park, said the practice was thrilled to have won.

“It’s absolutely fantastic as well as an immense responsibility,” he said. “It’s a building that’s close to our hearts - and indeed everyone’s heart, as we know from the sheer emotional torture of the fire.”

Inns said he was also pleased by the practice’s openness to working with the GSA which will remain closely involved in the development of the detailed restoration plan. 

He added: “There will be many fascinating questions to be addressed as we undertake this complex restoration project.

“We are looking forward to working with Page\Park Architects and the design team to explore how we can best meet the needs of the GSA in the 21st century while remaining true to Mackintosh’s astonishing vision.”

The design team will now work with the GSA to develop a detailed plan.

Work is expected to start on the building in spring 2016, with the aspiration that there will be academic access from 2017-8.

A symposium on the rebuild is being held in Steven Holl’s Reid Building next month, featuring keynote speakers and round-table discussions chaired by Rowan Moore.