The Glasgow School of Art plans revealed

The plans for Phase 1 of The Glasgow School of Art re-development were released.

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) was founded in 1845 making it one of the UK’s oldest creative institutions.  According to, the futuristic and minimalist building was designed by New York design firm Steven Holl Architects along with Glaswegian firms JM Architects and Arup Engineering.


The new building will replace the Foulis Building and Newbery Tower on Renfrew Street and significantly refurbish the Assembly Building which houses the Students’ Union, according to the website.


“Steven Holl Architects with JM Architects and Arup were appointed last September following an international competition to design a new building for the Art School which would enhance significantly the teaching, learning and research facilities available to GSA students and staff as well as providing access to new publicly accessible spaces including exhibition galleries and the Simon Sainsbury Interpretation Centre for the Mackintosh Building.

Inspired by Mackintosh’s inventive manipulation of his 1909 Art School building’s plan and section to introduce and deploy light in a tremendous variety of inspiring and successful ways, the new design complements its neighbour, but moves forward using a new language of light. With well proportioned studio and workshop spaces at the core of teaching and making art, these spaces are arranged in plan and section with natural side and top light for inspiring work environments, supplemented with ‘driven voids of light’ that penetrate the building’s core and deliver natural light through its depth; providing direct connectivity with the outside world through the changing intensity and colour of the sky.

These ventilated voids rising through the building also support its environmental sustainably; which is set to achieve a BREEAM Excellent rating as well as meeting the School’s own ambitious targets for sustainability.”

The design will provide needed studios and centralized workshop facilities, the Centre for Advanced Textiles, new digital media spaces, a lecture theatre and seminar rooms, exhibition space, a refectory for staff and students and a range of informal learning areas. The interpretation centre for the Mackintosh Building, phase 4 of the Mackintosh Conservation and Access Project is also on the site.

Built for maximum usage of natural light:

The new art center boasts “well-proportioned studio and workshop volumes that are arranged in plan and section with ideal top and side light. They are illuminated with north light, with shafts of warm south, east or west light. Studios are generally positioned on the north façade provided with large inclined north facing glazing to maximize access to the desirable high quality diffuse north light throughout the academic year.”

…Along the South elevation, at the same height as the Mackintosh main studios, there is a landscape loggia in the form of a Machair that gives the school an exterior social core open to the city. Natural vegetation with some stonework routes water into a small recycling water pond which will also reflect dappled sunlight onto the ceiling inside. Meanwhile inside the ‘Driven Void’ light shafts deliver natural light through the depth of the building providing direct connectivity with the outside world through the changing intensity and colour of the sky.”

…The exterior of the building will be coated in a thin skin of matte glass referencing Mackintosh’s stone skin on the 1909 building. The material, used to stunning effect by Steven Holl Architects on the Vanke Centre Chenzen, will soften the light on the Mackintosh building ensuring the studios continue to benefit from the quality of light as envisaged by the designer.”

The Glasgow School of Art