Venice Meeting For Art School Plans

Architectural experts are to meet in Venice to discuss the restoration of Glasgow School of Art's (GSA) Mackintosh library, which was destroyed in a fire in May.

The art school will host two meetings to explore key questions around the rebuilding of the unique library, one in the Italian city in October and the second in Glasgow next spring.

The city and the art world were rocked on May 23 when flames engulfed the Grade A-listed building, leading to the loss of about a tenth of the structure and 30% of its contents.

GSA officials said that the two events will be "fundamental'' to informing its construction plans.

Professor Christopher Platt, head of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at the GSA, said: "What should the plans be for bringing the Mackintosh building into full use once more and how should we approach the particular issue of the Macintosh library?

"These are highly complex questions and by necessity any discussion must involve contributions from many different people and organisations from across the world.

"We will therefore host two symposia, the first in Venice this autumn and the second in Glasgow next spring, to explore the future of a space beloved by so many.

"We have decided to focus on the topic of the Mackintosh library specifically as this is the most delicate and culturally and intellectually significant aspect of the entire post-fire work.''

The Venice symposium will feature keynote speakers while figures from fields such as architecture and heritage will be invited to attend.

The event, on October 18, is taking place in Querini Stampalia during the 2014 International Venice Architecture Biennale. Members of the public will also be able to attend.

It will be aligned with the Scotland + Venice programme presented by Reiach and Hall as part of a residency at the UK Pavilion during the biennale.

A £20 million fundraising campaign is under way to help with repairs to the fire-damaged building.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "The Glasgow School of Art is an extraordinarily well-loved building, both here in Scotland and around the world.

"Charles Rennie Mackintosh's masterpiece has a very special place in the history of world architecture.

"The symposium at the Querini Stampalia, prior to the spring symposium in Glasgow, will provide an important opportunity with an international audience to discuss Mackintosh's Glasgow School of Art and, in particular, to consider the highly-sensitive challenges relating to the rebuild of its library.''

Details of speakers at the Venice event and of how to book a place will be released in the near future.

Stuart Cosgrove, director of Creative Diversity at Channel 4, will be facilitator for the Building on Mackintosh symposium next month.

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