4th September 2015

Glasgow School of Art Fire

The project, headed up by Nick Balcombe, continues to move forward and in the last few weeks a significant step was taken towards the restoration of the Mackintosh Buildings

Fire damaged building - commercial claims management

Update 28/4/15

When it was announced in a press release from the school that they had made their decision regarding the appointment of the design team and that this would be led by Page \ Park Architects.

“The Glasgow-based architects have an extensive track record in both restoring and reinvigorating major historic buildings. They have also worked across the spectrum of Mackintosh’s designs from the domestic – at the Hillhouse, through commercial – at the former Glasgow Herald offices (now The Lighthouse), to his finest cultural and academic work at the School of Art itself  (as lead designers for the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Mackintosh Conservation and Access Project in 2007-9)

“The team assembled by Page \ Park Architects impressed us not only with their deep knowledge of the building, but of the wider work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh,” says Prof Tom Inns, Director of The Glasgow School of Art. “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.”

“This is the beginning of an exciting journey of discovery. There will be many fascinating questions to be addressed as we undertake this complex restoration project. We are looking forward to working in partnership with Page \ Park Architects and the design team to explore how we can best meet the needs of the GSA in the 21st century whilst remaining true to Mackintosh’s astonishing vision.”

“Page \ Park Architects are delighted to have won the commission to lead a team to restore the world-renowned Charles Rennie Mackintosh Glasgow School of Art,” says David Page, Head of Architecture at Page \ Park Architects. “We have, over many years, had the privilege to work on and in the context of the Mackintosh legacy, the highlight of which will now be the opportunity to bring The Glasgow School of Art into splendid re-use for its students and staff, the people of Glasgow and the huge audience beyond the city.”

Nick Balcombe echoed Professor Tom Inns words as well as stating that “as Page and Park led the stabilisation works we have a very good working relationship with them and look forward to the next phase in this most exciting project.”

The design team will now work with The Glasgow School of Art to develop the detailed plan for the restoration. Work is expected to start on the building in spring 2016 with the aspiration that there will be academic access from 2017-18.

We have made excellent progress in the case of the Glasgow School of Art, which we have documented in a short video now viewable here and in the clients section.

As our director in Scotland Adrian Gilluly explains in this video, the Glasgow School of Art fire has been one of the most complex projects we’ve encountered, thanks to the historical significance of the building, and the highly involved demolition process. It took three months to secure the building, and the next step will be the construction of a ‘top hat’ to allow structural engineers to assess the appropriate long-term approach.
As well as arranging these works, we were able to locate alternative premises for the incoming students in the Tontine Building. This involved getting the details of the planning permission altered, and finding contractors able to work round the clock to set up suitable studios in time for the new term.

Update 13/9/14

The School, Historic Scotland, Axa Art, RSA and ourselves are working hard to ensure that this is done as soon as possible and that the day to day business of the School continues. In this regard, with freshers week on top of us, the School, again with the support of RSA, has obtained the Tontine building from Glasgow council (which housed the offices for the Commonwealth Games untill recently) as a temporary facility whilst the Mackintosh building is being rebuilt. The facilities at the Tontine for the new students are quite amazing and considering the short period since the fire huge praise has to go to everyone at the School, their contractors, Crawfords the loss adjusters and our team for ensuring that this happened.


We are very proud to have been selected to act for the Glasgow School of Art following the devastating fire at the Mackintosh Building.

The Harris Balcombe team working on this case is being headed by Nick Balcombe with Stewart Dymant, Adrian Gilluly, Alan Hintz and Stephanie Campbell assisting.

The Glasgow Fire Service along with the Art School personnel did a wonderful and brave job in assisting in salvaging many of the famous books, manuscripts and paintings but unfortunately there has been major destruction including most of the famous Mackintosh Library.

Salvaging, utilising restoration experts from around the country, is underway and further updates will follow in the months to come.

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