The Glasgow School of Art: An Architectural Totality

Cairns, George M (1992) The Glasgow School of Art: An Architectural Totality. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This Thesis presents a study of the Glasgow School of Art, based primarily upon study and analysis of the building's technology and spatial functionality, rather than of the visual attributes of the design. In so doing, the study analyses key factors relating to the School's origins, the means of its procurement and the likely contributions of parties other than Charles Rennie Mackintosh to the overall design process. A 3-dimensional drawn study is presented which was prepared as an analytical tool in the study of the building's technology. The drawings also provide a record of the spatial assemblage of the School, the contrasts of openness and enclosure, the changes of scale and the interpenetration of spaces which cannot be presented either by photography or by 2-dimensional drawing. It presents views of the building which cannot be appreciated by observation, due to the nature of the surrounding developments. In researching the origins of the building's functional requirements and of the means by which it was procured the writer has come upon documentation which has not, to his knowledge, been referred to in previous studies. This documentation records the requirements of British industry and the aims of the educational system which were to lead to the development of a substantial number of new Art Schools in Britain at the end of the nineteenth century. It also relates details of the means by which these developments were financed and presents information relating to the involvement of various members of the Glasgow architectural establishment with the Glasgow School of Art and with the competition for the design of the building. The technical study is concentrated, primarily, upon the original system of warm air heating and mechanical ventilation, which was fully integrated into the design and construction of the building. This system was taken out of use in the 1920's and has, to a large extent, been ignored both in previous studies of the building and in the continuing existence of the major items of plant. In relation to the design origins of the environmental system employed and to its technical performance, the writer has uncovered a substantial amount of documentation which has not previously been related to the architectural history of the design and which demonstrates the likely design input of John Keppie. Study of the system shows it to be of major historical significance in relation to the development of environmental systems during the period 1890-1910. This significance has not been noted in the major work relating to the development of environmental design in relation to architecture. It is hoped that this study, read in conjunction with earlier studies, will assist students of the building in reaching a greater understanding of the totality of the design.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Architecture
Date of Award: 1992
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1992-78361
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2020 12:09
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2020 12:09

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