Real Time : Features & reviews

Ghost walking down the stairs

15 January 2010, by David Kohn

Diploma Unit 5 commended in Glasgow Competition

To mark the 100th anniversary of the completion of the Mackintosh Building, the Glasgow School of Art held a celebratory international symposium from 15–18 December. The main event was a student charrette to design a new architecture department adjacent to the School of Art and opposite the new extension proposed by Steven Holl. Student teams were invited from Tokyo, Melbourne, Venice, Beijing, Delhi, Dublin, Barcelona, Copenhagen and London Metropolitan University Unit 5.

Being the largest group, we divided into two teams and were joined by Sandy Rendel as guest critic from London, Glasgow School of Architecture tutors Stewart Dixon, Robert Mantho, Neil Mochrie and Neil Simpson and GSA students Jonathan Black and Nicholas Taggart. Following a guided tour of the Mackintosh Building and lectures on the history of Glasgow we were given studio spaces and two days to design a 5000sqm architecture faculty and 2000sqm arts library in as rich an architectural setting as one could hope for.

In true charrette fashion, teams worked through the night and submitted final competition panels on the Sunday afternoon. Following a ceilidh and a day’s symposium a distinguished panel of judges including Bernadetta Tagliabue, Professor William Curtis and Glasgow Architecture Professors Andy MacMillan, Gordon Benson and Pamela Robertson presented awards in the Mackintosh Church. The schools of architecture from Dublin and Venice won first and second prize and London Metropolitan 2 was commended alongside Copenhagen and Barcelona with William Curtis likening the London Met 2 project to a, ‘ghost walking down the stairs’…

Having visited the Mackintosh Building two weeks before the symposium as part of our annual field trip it was a real pleasure to be able to return and spend a significant amount of time working in the building. New friends were made and new thresholds of endurance crossed. Thank you to Robert Mull and our hosts and collaborators for an unforgettable few days.

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