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Glasgow School of Art criticised by MSPs over second blaze

Calls have been made for a public inquiry into the fire which destroyed the building in 2018.

A damning report calling for a public inquiry into the fire which destroyed Glasgow School of Art (GSA) for the second time in four years has been published.

MSPs on the Scottish Parliament's culture committee have been investigating the circumstances surrounding the blaze at the Mackintosh building last June.

Their findings, revealed by STV News on Thursday night, were officially published on Friday, insisting there should be a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the two fires.

The report found that in the period up to the 2014 fire, GSA appears not to have specifically addressed the heightened risk of fire to the Mackintosh building and was not convinced an adequate risk management approach had been taken by the art school with specific regard to the building.

'They had a duty to protect Mackintosh's legacy.'
Committee convener Joan McAlpine

The committee also said it was concerned about the length of time taken for a mist suppression system to be installed in the Mackintosh building and questioned whether more could have been done in the interim period to protect the building.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1436088-glasgow-art-school-report-findings-revealed/ | default

Committee convener Joan McAlpine said: "The board of Glasgow School of Art were custodians of this magnificent building, one of the most significant to Scotland's rich cultural heritage.

"They had a duty to protect Mackintosh's legacy.

"Glasgow School of Art itself must learn lessons from its role in presiding over the building, given that two devastating fires occurred within their estate in such a short space of time."

GSA said: "The Glasgow School of Art would like to thank the Committee for the time and energy that has been put into this report and for making it available so quickly.

'There are always lessons that can be learned, and we are happy to take forward the most appropriate and helpful as we bring this much-loved building back to life.'
Spokesperson for Glasgow School of Art

"There is much to be welcomed that will be useful for those who, like the GSA, are custodians of some of Scotland's most important historic buildings.

"As a nation we are rightly proud of being able to provide unique places of learning, whose history continues to inspire generations of students. It is one of the significant factors in attracting students to Scotland.

"There are always lessons that can be learned, and we are happy to take forward the most appropriate and helpful as we bring this much-loved building back to life."

However it said there were some "factual inaccuracies" in the report and also said it was surprised that the report does not expressly clarify the legal distinction between the GSA and Keir Construction (Scotland) Ltd in relation to responsibility for the site, stressing that Keir had full control of the site. GSA added:

"The Mackintosh Building is a national (indeed international) treasure, but it is not lost and it will certainly return."

The second fire broke out at the Mackintosh Building on Sauchiehall Street late on Friday, June 15 while it was undergoing a £35m restoration.

https://stv.tv/news/west-central/1419151-fire-rips-through-glasgow-school-of-art-for-second-time/ | default

Nearby buildings, including nightclubs, were evacuated, while residents were forced to flee their homes.

No-one was injured, but more than 150 firefighters remained at the scene overnight as the flames spread to nearby buildings, including the historic ABC nightclub, which is now set to be demolished.

It came four years after the art school previously caught fire - a blaze which caused significant damage to the west wing, including the loss of the celebrated Mackintosh Library.

That fire began in the degree show exhibition when artwork made from foam was set alight by a hot projector.

A full-scale model of part of the library was later built to test if the original materials and techniques from Mackintosh's 19th-century design could be used in its reconstruction. Work had been due to be completed in February this year.

Art school bosses have previously said they are confident the Mackintosh will be rebuilt.

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