Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Architect

Mackintosh ( 1868-1928) was an outstanding, Glasgow, Scotland born architect and designer who pioneered the Modern Movement. Working in conjunction with his wife, Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh was famous for designing every aspect of a project down to such details as cutlery, furniture and light fittings.

Most of Mackintosh's extant work and designs can be found in and around Glasgow in S.W. Scotland. 

Firstly, there is the Mackintosh House at Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow which comprises the recreated interior of 6 Florentine Terrace meticulously reassembled within the University’s Art Gallery. Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald resided at Florentine Terrace from 1906-1914.This extends to three rooms and related furniture. Escorted tours are available.

Secondly, there are Mackintosh sites in Glasgow city viz:

Daily Record Building in Renfield Lane. Visit mainly confined to views of  exterior although refreshment can be obtained at (vegan) restaurant inside.

The famous Willow Tea Rooms at 217 Sauchiehall Street. Sauchiehall means “alley of the willows” and throughout the rooms Mackintosh used the willow motif. In 1903-4 at Sauchiehall Street Mackintosh  provided the complete interiors and front façade of the building which Miss Catherine Cranston bought in 1901. The facility includes an interactive visitor/exhibition centre, education and learning suite.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum: This holds the Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Glasgow Style Gallery.

Glasgow School of Art: A new plot for the School was acquired in 1895 and the Glasgow architect firm of Honeyman and Keppie (with which Mackintosh was associated) won the design competition. This building is considered Mackintosh’s masterpiece and has been called the most important building worldwide in that decade. The north façade exactly reflects the internal plan of the building, resulting in a triumph of balanced asymmetry. Sadly, this building has been subject of extensive fire damage.

Opposite the original School of Art building is an extension known as the Reid Building which dates from 2014. Tours of this building are available which include a gallery of Mackintosh designed furniture.

Scotland Street School Museum.  Here Mackintosh reversed tradition and gave the towers with conical roofs walls of glass with narrow stone mullions. Instead of spiral stairs he used straight flights, which benefited from the light which streams into them. Mackintosh played off the verticality of the towers against the horizontal nature of the rest of the building.

House for an Art Lover. This is located in Bellahouston Park and close to the Burrell Collection.Mackintosh’s plans for Haus Eines Kunstfreundes languished for 90 years until 1989 when Graham Roxburgh, an engineer, had the idea to build it. It was eventually completed in 1996. Rooms include the Main Room, Dining Room, Oval Room, Music Room and the Margaret Macdonald Room.

Mackintosh Church at Queen’s Cross (1897-1899). This is the only standing church designed by Mackintosh. The building is no longer used for worship and is now the Mackintosh Society’s HQ. Mackintosh used space and light to dramatic effect. A particular feature is the stained glass and internal carvings.
Ruchill Church Hall. A well planned minor work. Still in use as a community centre.Located close to the Mackintosh Church.

Lighthouse: Now Scotland’s Centre for design and Architecture.This was the former Glasgow Herald (newspaper) building and as such represented Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commission. Here can be found a floor dedicated to Mackintosh.

Thirdly, there is the famous Hill House  at Upper Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh. Location is about 31 miles N.W. of Glasgow. This property dates from 1902-4 when Mackintosh was at the height of his powers. The design blends tradition with modernity and benefits from superb views over the Clyde Estuary. Hill House is owned by the National Trust for Scotland and is open March-October when tours of the house and garden are available.

© Nigel P Cole/Catswhiskerstours Limited


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