What's in a name?

Wednesday 06 May 2009

Mackintosh proves he still has pulling power with Stirling cast of entrants for Glasgow School of Architecture competition

His work remains undoubtedly some of the most recognisable architecture and despite being dead for over 80 years, Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh has proven he still has the power to excite the international architecture community, as evidenced by the recent level of interest in the Glasgow School of Architecture campus competition.

The website running the competition for the 11,250 m2 building, to sit opposite the iconic Mackintosh Building in Garnethill, Glasgow, has been viewed nearly 57,000 times over the 6-week entry period, achieving 152 entries. 58 were received from outside the UK including the US, Japan, Australia, Spain, Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands.

Asked what created this level of interest, Malcolm Reading, founder of the firm hosting the competition, had no doubt:

“Mackintosh. Saying the name Mackintosh is like saying John Soane to architects and I think this is something the competition had in its favour. This building will be situated directly opposite the Charles Rene Mackintosh building. But the Glasgow School of Architecture doesn’t want a facsimile of the Mackintosh building , they want a building that will see us through for the next hundred years.”

11,000 clicks were recorded to download the expression of interest form but, unlike most competitions, the judging will not be based on a design but rather the calibre of entrants, meaning that a comparatively low number of architects actually entered.

“The whole purpose of the exercise is to appoint a world-class architect-led team of designers who can demonstrate that they have the skills, experience, imagination and sensitivity to the School's needs to deliver the project successfully and within the available budget.”

And this is what they appear to have achieved, pulling in 11 of the World Architecture Top 100 practices, three Pritzker Prize winners and a large number of Stirling Prize shortlisted architects.

The GSA is considered to be one of the foremost art and design schools in the world and Mackintosh himself was an alumni member. Subsequently the GSA's third school, the Mackintosh School of Architecture, commonly known as The Mac, was created to honour him.

A shortlist of 7 for the new campus is to be announced on 22 May and a final winner chosen in September. The successful team will then work with the GSA to confirm the overall campus masterplan and design and deliver the Phase 1 building, set to open in 2013, spearheading the complete redevelopment of the School’s estate and creating a united campus beside the iconic Mackintosh Building.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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