The Mackintosh School of Art

Glasgow (1897-1909)

‘Mackintosh’s masterpiece of space, light and form...'

Founded in 1845 as the Glasgow Government School of Design, the school changed its name to The Glasgow School of Art in 1853. Initially it was located at 12 Ingram Street, but in 1869 it moved to the McLellan Galleries. In 1897, work started on a new building to house the school on Renfrew Street.

The building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, working for the practice John Honeyman and Keppie, as it was then known. Mackintosh’s design was chosen for the commission by the school’s director, Francis Newbery, who oversaw a period of expansion and fast growing reputation for the institution. The first half of the building was completed in 1899 and the second half in 1909.

The Mackintosh Building is the heart of the campus and continues to be a functioning part of the school. It primarily houses the Fine Art Painting department, first year studios and administrative staff. It also houses the Mackintosh gallery which holds many different exhibitions throughout the year.
The Mackintosh Gallery (also known as the Mackintosh Museum) is the only part of the Mackintosh building open to the general public; all other areas of the school are only viewable by guided tour.

An exception to this rule is the Degree Show where all the studios within the Mackintosh building are opened to allow people to view the graduating year’s final artworks.

Universally recognised as a masterpiece of architectural design, the School has several genuine innovations within its construction, most notably an air-conditioning system which was arguably the first in the world.

In 2009, Glasgow School of Art was named the RIBA Journal’s ‘Stirling of Stirlings’ by a panel of experts in a vote to find the best building of the RIBA’s 175 year existence.