The Strategic Case establishes a close strategic fit between the vision for the Mackintosh Project and the ambitions of the GSA, the community, students, staff, the Scottish and UK Governments, and other statutory bodies. A powerful case is created for a project that will enable the GSA to continue to grow its special contribution to the cultural, creative and economic prosperity of Glasgow and thereby wider Scotland. In doing so, it will protect the GSA’s heritage, create a landmark sustainable, fit for purpose building, catalyse local regeneration and add to the student experience and world-class reputation of the GSA in a global competitive market.
In a rapidly changing social and economic environment, the Mackintosh Project will allow the GSA and its ‘offer’ to stay relevant to the markets within which it operates. New facilities will also enable the GSA to meet its plans for strategic and measured growth in student numbers and the generation of new income streams founded on more and deeper relationships with industry and academia.
New curriculum and research opportunities will be supported in an environment that also has the ability to attract partners from industry, academia and the community.
The case for change, which has been informed by extensive consultation and stakeholder engagement, is predicated on six core themes:
- Academic need – a purpose-built space of an exemplary design and quality-is needed to foster new partnerships, support the new curriculum, enhance research and innovation partnerships and enable sustainable and planned growth.
- Student experience – a shortfall in collaborative space and flexible, purpose-built facilities for studio-based learning and curating opportunities is impacting on the student experience and must be addressed to sustain the reputation of the GSA.
- Culture and economy – it is widely recognised that the Mackintosh Building played a vital role within the social, economic, cultural and tourist landscape of Glasgow and its absence is a significant loss nationally and internationally. There is also an urgent need to address the blight on the local community from the fire-damaged building.
- Competitive offer – the GSA must remain at the forefront of its disciplines if it is to retain its position as a globally-recognised art and design institution. The project is needed to allow the GSA to retain its ‘landmark’ status.
- Legacy, heritage and regeneration – the GSA is synonymous with the Mackintosh Building to many stakeholders, and this has helped the GSA retain its position and status. By being located in the heart of a Conservation Area that is also witnessing regeneration, the project has a unique opportunity to be a catalyst creating a significant local and also wider economic impact.
- Estate and compliance – the project will enable a dispersed estate in Glasgow to be consolidated and future-proofed for a sustainable and digitally-supported era. The project will increase the flexibility and agility that the GSA needs to adapt the estate to the changing needs of the many communities of interest it supports.