Glasgow School of Art
Steven Holl Architects

October 04, 2010 /

Glasgow, United Kingdom

Image courtesy Steven Holl Architects, Renfrew Street view

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

The new building will replace the Foulis Building and Newbery Tower on Renfrew Street opposite the Mackintosh building and significantly refurbish the Assembly Building which houses the Students' Union.

Image courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsDalhousie Street view
Image courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsScott Street view

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 neighbor, but moves forward using a new language of light.

The site opposite the Mackintosh Building calls for a unique, inspiring and stimulating twenty-first century architecture with a great sensitivity to light, detail, and material. The new Glasgow School of Art Building will provide contemplative space for individual creativity and thought, and spaces of collective interaction for students, staff and the Garnethill community.

/Steven Holl

Sketch courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Sketch courtesy Steven Holl Architects

The design began with the Studio space - the core of teaching and making art. Well proportioned studio and workshop volumes are arranged in plan and section with ideal top and side light. They are adaptable with potential for individual studios to open into larger groups, and arranged with functionally adjacent support spaces in rhythm with the studio/workshop volumes.

They are illuminated with north light, with shafts of warm south, east or west light. Studios are generally positioned on the north facade provided with large inclined north facing glazing to maximize access to the desirable high quality diffuse north light throughout the academic year.

Sketch courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Image courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Image courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Model photo courtesy Steven Holl Architects

Spaces that do not have a requirement for the same quality of natural light, are located on the South facade (opposite the Mackintosh building) where access to sunlight can be balanced with the occupants; needs and the thermal performance of the space through application of shading or informed shaping of openings.

Centralized facilities for the GSA campus, including exhibition spaces, seminar spaces, digital media and the "Window on the Mackintosh" centre are located on the ground floor in a carefully considered balance that forges an identity as an academic building, for the school and students, but that also invites the public inside.

Image courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsCircuit of connection

Located one level below, a 300-seat lecture theatre has direct access to the lobby as well as the centralized workshop and associated assembly spaces. Immediately above the ground floor are the school directorate and administrative offices (on the south) whilst studio space occupies the entire north side at this level and moving up through the building.

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 by Steven Holl Architects on the Vanke Center in Shenzen, China, will soften the light on the Mackintosh building ensuring the studios continue to benefit from the quality of light as envisaged by the designer.

Steven Holl Architects, in collaboration with Glasgow-based JM Architects, won the international design competition.

Drawing courtesy Steven Holl ArchitectsSection

Facts about Glasgow School of Art

Building area:

121,094 ft2/11,250 m2

Design architects:
Steven Holl, Chris McVoy

Partner in charge:

Chris McVoy


Noah Yaffe

Project Team:

JongSeo Lee
Fiorenza Matteoni
Dominik Sigg
Dimitra Tsachrelia
Ebbie Wisecarver

Competition Project architect:

Dominik Sigg

Competition Team:

Peter Adams
Rychiee Espinosa

Associate architects:

JM Architects



Landscape architect:

Michael Van Valkenburgh


Turley Associates

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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