Glasgow School of Art

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The Glasgow School of Art
Wfm glasgow school of art.jpg
Established 1845
Type Independent Art school. University-level institution
Academic staff 160
Admin. staff 138
Students 1940
Undergraduates 1580
Postgraduates 170-80
Doctoral students 32
Location Glasgow, Scotland
Director (Principal) Tom Inns
Affiliations University of Glasgow

The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is Scotland's only independent art school offering university level programmes and research in architecture, fine art and design.


Founded in 1845 as the Glasgow Government School of Design, it changed its name to The Glasgow School of Art in 1853. Initially it was located at 12 Ingram Street, but in 1869 it moved to the McLellan Galleries. In 1897, work started on a new building to house the school on Renfrew Street. The building was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, chosen for the commission by the school's director, Francis Newbery, who oversaw a period of expansion and fast-growing reputation. The first half of the building was completed in 1899 and the second half in 1909. The School's campus has grown since that time and in 2009, an international architectural competition was held to find an architect-led design team who would develop the Campus Masterplan and design the Phase 1 building. The Phase 1 building is opposite the Mackintosh Building on a site now occupied by the Foulis, Assembly and Newbery Tower Buildings. The competition was won by New York based Steven Holl Architects[1] working with Glasgow based JM Architects.[2]

The school has produced most of Scotland's leading contemporary artists including, since 2005, 29% of Turner Prize nominees and three recent Turner Prize winners: Simon Starling in 2005, Richard Wright in 2009 and Martin Boyce in 2011. The School of Architecture is highly rated by the architecture profession[3] and the School of Design has been described by Design Week as "leaders in design education".[citation needed]

The School is organised into the three academic schools, the Mackintosh School of Architecture (named after Charles Rennie Mackintosh the GSA's most famous alumnus), School of Design and School of Fine Art, each with their own academic programmes and research centres. The Schools, together with the Digital Design Studio, specialising in 3D visualisation and interaction, the Forum for Critical Inquiry which provides a range of non-studio based learning, teaching and research and the Graduate School, form the academic core. In addition, the GSA has a long established portfolio of non-degree provision, providing a range of portfolio preparation and leisure classes.

Disciplines include Fine Art Photography, founded by Thomas Joshua Cooper in 1982, Painting and Printmaking, Sculpture and Environmental Art, Product Design, Product Design Engineering, Textiles, Silversmithing and Jewellery, Interior Design, Communication Design, Digital Culture and Architecture.


Western facade of GSA's Mackintosh building

The School currently has two separate campuses: The School of Fine Art, Digital Culture, and MFA programmes are located in the vicinity of the Mackintosh building. The School of Design - Textiles, Jewellery & Silversmithing, Product Design Engineering, Product Design, Communication Design and Interior Design - the Centre for Advanced Textiles, Design Innovation Studio and the Where the Monkey Sleeps cafe have recently moved back to the Garnethill Campus with the occupation of the new Reid Building. [4]

The School's Digital Design Studio is situated at Pacific Quay. The Design Innovation Centre, a research centre of the School of Design is based in Forres and the School has a Representative Office in Beijing, PRC.

The Mackintosh Building is the heart of the campus and continues to be a functioning part of the school. It primarily houses the Fine Art Painting department, first year studios and administrative staff. It also houses the Mackintosh gallery which holds many different exhibitions throughout the year. The Mackintosh Gallery (also known as the Mackintosh Museum) is the only part of the Mackintosh building open to the general public; all other areas are of the school are only viewable by guided tour.[5] An exception to this rule is the Degree Show where all the studios within the Mackintosh building are opened to allow people to view the graduating year's final artworks.

The Richmond Building is home to the Fine Art photography department. Connected to the Richmond Building is the John D. Kelly Building which houses the Master of Fine Art. The Graduate School is currently located on Rose Street.

The Mackintosh School of Architecture and the school's library and learning resources are situated in The Bourdon Building.

The Barnes Building on West Graham Street is the base for the Sculpture and Environmental Art, International Foundation and Digital Culture programmes.

After the regeneration The Mackintosh building will still be centrepiece of the campus, though there are plans to sell off some of the more peripheral buildings and to redevelop the Newbery site. The building which houses the Assembly Building adjacent to the Mackintosh Building will be redeveloped and retain its existing facade.

An international architectural competition was launched in March 2009 to find the design team to prepare a campus masterplan and detailed design of the first new building phase.[6] The winner of the competition was Steven Holl Architects,[7] working in partnership with Glasgow’s JM Architects and Arup Engineering. Work commenced in the summer of 2011 and will continue until Autumn 2013. The building was structurally complete in Spring 2013.[8]

The GSA has a specialist research and postgraduate centre - Digital Design Studio (DDS) based on the southside of Glasgow in a new facility at Pacific Quay by the River Clyde in a building called The Hub.[9]


GSA runs an annual public programme of exhibitions and events. The Mackintosh Gallery has a curated programme that works with contemporary artists, designers and architects; GSA staff and students; and makes connections to the rich heritage and architecture of the Glasgow School of Art and its collections.[10]

Students and teaching[edit]

The GSA has been ranked in the top 10 of specialist educational institutions in the Guardian University Guide, ranking it the top specialist visual arts institution in the UK.[11] The School does not appear in other published league tables Rankings of universities in the United Kingdom which focus on institutions that have degree awarding powers. Its degrees are validated by the University of Glasgow.

Of its 1,900 students, almost 20% are international, 20% from the Rest of the UK and approximately 20% are postgraduate.

HESA statistics show GSA to have one of the lowest student drop-out rates in the UK.[12]

Student Unions and representation[edit]

Architectural model of the Glasgow School of Art.

Research and Knowledge Exchange[edit]

The Glasgow School of Art is host to a number of high profile research projects, funded primarily through the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council, although other UK research councils have funded projects in the past.

At the last Research Assessment Exercise in 2008, the GSA had the second largest art and design research community in the UK and with 25% of research evaluated as world leading and 25% as internationally excellent. The GSA has a number of research centres including Digital Design Studio, Mackintosh Environmental Architectural Research Institute, Institute of Design Innovation,[13] Centre for Advanced Textiles and the Glasgow Urban Lab[14]

Research professors include Professor Thomas Joshua Cooper, Professor Alastair Macdonald, Professor Paul Anderson, Professor Roger Wilson, Professor Tim Sharpe, Professor Irene McAra-McWilliam, Professor Linda Drew, Professor Christopher Platt and Professor Brian Evans.

The School currently has two Fulbright Distinguished Chairs within the Mackintosh School of Architecture: Professor Ann Markusen and Professor Juliana Maantay.

Notable students[edit]


  1. ^ "Steven Holl Architects". 2014-02-07. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "World's Best Architecture Schools and Universities - Top 10 List". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  4. ^ "Glasgow School of Art Reid Building has wow factor as students and staff move into new Garnethill site". Daily Record. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  5. ^ CathieRandall. "Tours". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Waite, Richard (2010-09-17). "Steven Holl unveils Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh designs | News". Architects Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  8. ^ GSA Extension
  9. ^ The Hub
  10. ^ Site Administrator. "GSA Events". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  11. ^ University guide 2012: Specialist institutions league table
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Institute of Design Innovation on Vimeo". 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-02-15. 
  14. ^ ScottParsons. "Research Centres". Retrieved 2014-02-15. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 55°51′58″N 4°15′50″W / 55.86611°N 4.26389°W / 55.86611; -4.26389