Fire Ravages Mackintosh Building

Glasgow -- Firefighters in Scotland were able to salvage most of the Glasgow School of Art from a fire last week, except for its iconic library located at the top of the building, said Duncan McKenzie, a press officer for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on Monday.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network are worried about damages to this international art treasure and architectural masterpiece .

The cause of the fire, which began on Friday and was extinguished a day later, remained unknown, he said.

“Ninety percent of the structure remains viable and firefighters recovered around 70 percent of the items inside,” Mr. McKenzie said.

But a photo from the fire service showed that the school’s library, hailed as one of the finest examples of Art Nouveau style, was gutted and blackened from the blaze.

The library was the most damaged building in the fire, Mr. McKenzie said.

Local media outlets reported that the fire appeared to have been sparked by a projector that had exploded in the basement of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Building, named after its architect, one of the pioneers of Modernism, and which opened in 1909.

The building is often referred to as one of the finest examples of British architecture in the past two centuries.

The British government has pledged a significant contribution toward the costs of restoring what it has described as a “priceless gem.”

Charles Rennie Mackintosh studied at the Glasgow School of Art before designing the Renfrew Street building, widely referred to as the Mac, in Glasgow's city center.

Architect Steven Holl recently completed an extension to the school – a matte-glass building that contrasts with the decorative sandstone facade of Macintosh’s masterpiece.

The school is Scotland's only independent art institution and is organized into the three academic departments, the Mackintosh School of Architecture, School of Design and School of Fine Art.

Mackintosh's building primarily houses the Fine Art department, as well as a gallery that hosts exhibitions and the student's annual degree show.

"It is internationally famous – architects around the world pay homage to it," said London's Sunday Times architecture critic Hugh Pearman. "It is such a significant national monument that money will be found to restore it but it will never be same."

"I remember going through the studios when I went up there this year, and seeing original Mackintosh doors spattered with decades of paint from students, door handles worn by students. It's those marks of time which added to it and made it somehow even better than it would have been when it was brand new."

In 2009 the building won the Royal Institute of British Architect's "Stirling of Stirlings", after a public vote and private judging panel both chose the Mac as the best British building of the past 175 years.