Reid Building by Steven Holl Architects, JM architects and Arup opens in Glasgow
On Wednesday 9 April, the Steven Holl Architects and JM architects-designed Reid Building at the Glasgow School of Art was officially declared open, having been occupied by students since January 2014. The celebratory event was attended by ex-student and respected actor Robbie Coltrane, and Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop.
Hyslop said: “Steven Holl and JM architects have crafted a building that is a true work of art in its own right. Facing Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s masterpiece The Glasgow School of Art, it is a bold response to one of Scotland’s most architecturally important buildings.
“Through careful use of light, the building combines a striking sculptural from with the ideal lighting and working conditions required for first-class artist studios. I look forward to seeing the works students create in such an inspiring environment.”
As noted by Hyslop, the Reid Building stands across the street from the Mackintosh Building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh of Honeyman and Keppie. This mammoth structure was built in stages between 1897 and 1909 and has now been listed as a building of architectural importance.
During the design process the architects were inspired by ways in which the Mackintosh Building harnesses natural light, referencing the original architect’s ‘amazing manipulation of the building section for light in inventive ways’. As a result, the now complete Reid Building has been devised so that the various users benefit from the intensities of light that best suit their needs.
For example, the studios are positioned towards the north façade so that students may benefit from the high quality diffuse north light, while the offices and refectory have been situated on the south façade where the intensity of sunlight can be balanced through shading measures. ‘Driven Void’ light shafts also punctuate the building, drawing natural light deep into the heart of the form.
The Reid Building replaces the Newbery Tower and Foulis Building which were demolished to provide a prime site for the new structure. Following a review, it was found that the Mackintosh Building was the only structure of nine used by the Glasgow School of Art that was fit for purpose, hence the Reid Building project was initiated.
The Reid Building is named after Dame Seona Reid CBE, the first female Director of The Glasgow School of Art, who stepped down after 13 years in summer 2013.