House for an Art Lover: Mack the Knave

dining 1That lovely music room, with the piano in the background. poster 2 poster 1Competition drawings music room 2 When I thought about it, Scotland seemed perfect. For the moment, I did not want to go back to England, just yet. I was traveling alone, and I thought this would be something different. And it was, in a good way. I have had a fascination for Rennie Mackintosh since Janene gave me the book on his work. I will never get over actually being able to see the work, and even the excitement, over staying about 3 blocks away from the Glasgow School of Art. Being inside the standing school building on Scotland Street and spending time shooting and exploring the way school used to be. Being inside his home on the university and seeing the changes made of a conventional city residence. composite music room music room piano I was just going to head out to see the House for an Art Lover, took the subway, got off to see the Science building, crossed over a bridge to find the Riverside Museum, walked back and in about 1/2 mile found my original destination.  In a world where Rennie Mackintosh’s famous Glasgow School of Art was almost lost in flames, and a Frank Lloyd Wright car showroom was demolished in NYC, it is nice to find someone loved Mackintosh’s original sketches to actually build it several decades later posthumously. DSC_0423x model 1The structure and a model of the structure. If you live in the States you probably know Wright, Philip Johnson and Frank Gehry. You might know Richard Meier’s work. If you live in New York or Chicago you know Mies van der Rohe. I doubt, unless you were an affectionado know the work of Wagner in Vienna. I am not  too sure, except for furniture design you might know Mackintosh, the best known modern architect of Scotland. Wealth brings out genius and I am not sure the wealth both made and unmade the career of this gifted and interesting architect. flowers dining carpet I am sure someone might argue that this building could not be considered authoritative, nor authentic. It is after all, constructed after Mackintosh’s death and based upon sketches. Still the research and the time taken, reminds me very much of the library structure in the School of Glasgow, down to the lamps. It is unfortunate that the structure was never built, but that is the price of many fine proposals. I applaud Graham Roxburgh and architect Professor Andy Macmillan “The Mackintosh competition entry has been admired by academics and architects alike over the last century. But, it was in 1987 that Glasgow civil engineer Graham Roxburgh conceived and developed the idea of building the House for an Art Lover, from the competition drawings, on a site he had identified in Bellahouston Park Glasgow.      Graham had been responsible for the refurbishment of the nearby Craigie Hall which contains early Mackintosh interiors.  His dream to build the House for an Art Lover became a reality in 1990 when the building exterior and much of the interior and craftwork were completed by his remarkable team of architects, designers, builders and craftsmen.”

 – History for the House for an Art Lover in Detail

DSC_0119 Look at the beautiful Oval Room. A subtle ovaloid interior cut top and bottom flat with lots of verticals, then touches of square grids in certain accent areas and repeated in the windows.Look at the beautiful way, Mackintosh softens the ends of the room with an oval which compresses the space the light filters into his very vertical windowshape, pretty pristine area, giving in a large burst of light. The roundness is picked up in certain surfaces which softens a hard orthogonal edge. DSC_0104 DSC_0113rosette compositeNow take a look at this fixture above the table. small room window Now watch how simple it is from the outside area, below. It is the only outside light source. oval room window Wright has a gift for appending space. The best of his work, for me, seems to cordon off space and then create beautiful relationships, especially his interiors. He uses detail nicely. Macintosh is more matter of fact stairway in hall stairwayTake a look at the play on symmetry with this banister on left and cutout space on the right. about space, but he uses relationships of vertical/horizontal (mezzanine area of the tea room, the large columns in the school, those wonderful stairwells in the school, some of the white interiors in the House for an art lover) and his sense of detail is more precious and fetching than that of Wright, who integrates detail into the whole unit. That is my opinion, I am not an architect. But Mackintosh was really the reason I went to Scotland. hall hallway door white music roomFixtures and stained glass. hall facing dining room hallway facing hall lights hall The large recess and full height of the hall to the second story allows for tremendous light in a small area. It is very reminiscent of the Scotland Street School, which uses white tile to give an even more reflective surface. It is amazing how Mack creates large, light areas in rooms with very small openings compared to the wall spaces, often from only one side. Remember Scotland is northern and has less vibrant light. Light carpet and light ceilings bounce plenty of light, while using dark stained or painted woods in other large surfaces in the room. drawing of dining roomdining roomOriginal sketch and finished design. dining fireplacedining embell So much beautiful detail throughout the house. round detail wood vs  woodPainted wood against stained wood. stairwell exteriorDSC_0419composite exterior

backmodel backLook how the use of color and the relief work gives the structure a warmth.


One thought on “House for an Art Lover: Mack the Knave

  1. Pingback: A New Journey | thinkBack visualWards

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