History And Significance Of The Glasgow School Of Art

1675 words - 7 pages

The Glasgow School of Art was built by Charles Rennie Mackintosh from 1897 - 1909 in Glasgow, Scotland.  In 1897, Mackintosh won a competition for the design of the Glasgow Building.  However, it was a difficult piece of land to build on because of the very steep slope.  The front end is located on Renfrew Street while the backside stretched down the steep hill.  The Glasgow School of Art is constructed primarily out of wood, iron, and glass.  Inside, their are studios, a lecture theater, a library, and a director's office.  Also, the building itself shows nothing which could be considered eclectic.  In fact, the Glasgow Building is considered very progressive.
Stylistically, it is a very important piece of architecture.  Although the Glasgow Building was built during the heart of the Art Nouveau period, its style gives a strong indication of what is to come for the future in architectural style.  The Art Nouveau period was frequently organic with elaborate decoration.  There were often undulating curves and twists which combined into an unpredictable picture of mental knots.  The Glasgow Building did not boast many of these features making its style more difficult to pinpoint.  It is a style between styles.  In fact, it presents several features which will become much more prominent in the years to come.
Still, several features of the Glasgow Building are Art Nouveau in style.  First, their is a use of iron for some decoration, particularly around the windows.  Iron is also used for the construction of the railings.  However, the decoration created by the iron is relatively small when compared to a more Art Nouveau iron design such as Victor Horta's Tassel House which had been built around the same time.  In comparison, it already appears to be a much more disciplined building.
Also, although their is a large void over solid ratio in the building, it could still be described as "cave-like."  More accurately, a cave with windows.  This feeling is given by the claustrophobic quality of the geometric parts used on the outside of the building.  Clearly, it is not the same "cave-like" feeling which is felt in the Tassel House, but the continued use of large blocks makes the building look very solid.  On the inside, however, their is vast space.  In fact, it would not be fair to call the structure "cave-like" at all.  The space is open, free, and organized.  To an extent, this hints at the dilemma of the Glasgow Building.  It is neither one style or another.  
Interestingly, many of the features make the building much more progressive than Art Nouveau.  The most obvious feature of the building is the large void over solid ratio.  The windows on the front of the building allow in enormous amounts of light.  Even at the base of the structure, sky lights are built in, allowing light into the floors below the...

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