Voice of the Stakeholder

A central part of the development of the Strategic Outline Business case were a series of meetings hosted by Avison Young to explore a breadth of views and opinions from the GSA’s wider stakeholders and the GSA community including Glasgow City Council, Historic Environment Scotland, local MSPs, local councillors, local community councils, local civic groups, and the wider GSA community.

The Mackintosh Building – delivered much more than a learning experience to users:

  • It was synonymous with the GSA and was a physical manifestation of the core values of the School.
  • It’s use by tourists and other visitors did not detract from its core purpose.
  • It was an enormous asset to the School, the City of Glasgow, and Scotland.
  • As a student at the GSA, it was not necessary to have studied in the building to have benefited from its presence and impact on student life.
  • The learning experience available was unmatched elsewhere.
  • It was continuously fit for purpose due in part to its simplicity of design and the perfect balance of light and space.
  • The success of the Building was due to the very limited number of changes made since its construction.
  • The ‘lived in’ nature of the Building was entirely appropriate for the studio-based curriculum.
  • Work should be carried out as quickly as possible to halt any further deterioration to the remaining structure. 

Future purpose – the overwhelming desire among stakeholders is to see the Building consolidate the heart of the GSA’s teaching, learning and research accommodation in and around Renfrew Street and a multitude of opportunities, internal to the GSA but also outward-facing, can be realised through the Mackintosh Project.

The Building should be:

  • Open and accessible to the community, without prejudice to the core academic purpose.
  • Reflective of the unique heritage of the GSA.
  • A contributor to the ambition of the GSA to foster collaboration across the Schools and between the Schools and their educational and industry partners.

Academic Ambitions:

  • There is an academic requirement for additional space that will help the GSA achieve its ambitions, that are fit for purpose and commensurate with the status of the GSA, both nationally and internationally.
  • More space is required that brings students and staff together to study and learn collaboratively.
  • A ‘research hub’ or similar would bring not only academic benefits but would also enhance the GSA’s position as a partner with industry and other education institutions spearheading innovation and commercialisation.
  • Space is needed to allow the GSA’s extensive collections to be displayed and used as a research asset.

The Estate:

  • An estate-wide perspective is required to fully capitalise on the Mackintosh Project and any development of the Mackintosh Building site to meet the GSA’s academic needs must be undertaken as a key component of an overall Estate Strategy. Cost savings and capital receipts can be realised through estate rationalisation enabled by the project.
  • Development of the Mackintosh Building site should be undertaken in harmony with the development of adjacent sites and buildings to maximise the overall regeneration impact for both GSA, the City and our neighbours.
  • There is a significant opportunity to address the public realm in the surrounding area.

Our Community:

  • Access to the Mackintosh Building by members of the community for short courses, tours, to visit exhibitions is invaluable.
  • The GSA must build on the excellent work undertaken in recent years to engage constructively with local community groups and representatives with community benefit clauses incorporated into all relevant contracts for the project.
  • The site must be developed to remove the current blight and impact to residents, local businesses, staff, students and visitors that they are living and operating in the shadow of a large building site.
  • The process of planning and delivering a development on site presents a unique opportunity to deliver social value, build community wealth and have a significant community benefit.

The Opportunities:

  • The Mackintosh Building was an essential feature on the itinerary of many visitors to Glasgow and Scotland, whether or not they had any wider interest in art, design or architecture.
  • The Mackintosh Project present a unique opportunity to support and stimulate economic regeneration within Glasgow, which may include working in partnership with adjoining landowners and the ambitions of the Regional City Deal and local regeneration frameworks.
  • There are exciting opportunities for the GSA to capitalise on its history and the current blend of courses and research opportunities to forge long-lasting links to industry.
  • The Mackintosh Project provides a further opportunity for the GSA to showcase its digitally-enabled teaching and learning offering.
  • There is an opportunity to host an integrated approach to academic activities
  • combining research, teaching, learning and innovation. 

Student experience and perspective:

  • Students and staff were immensely proud to have used the building as a unique asset and ideally suited to learning by those who had moved on to study art and design at a higher level elsewhere.
  • Functionality, accessibility and ‘useability’ should trump aesthetics. However, it was noted the original Mackintosh building managed to combine both.