Barcelona has Gaudí, Chicago has Frank Lloyd Wright – Glasgow has the Art Nouveau magic of Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Mackintosh (1868-1928) was a pioneering Glaswegian architect, designer and artist known as one of the most creative figures of the 20th century and as a leading figure in the European Art Nouveau movement.
Glasgow is the only city in the world where you can view a concentration of his renowned work so no trip would be complete without experiencing the magic of Mackintosh.
Mackintosh’s first major project in 1899, the Glasgow Herald Building is now known as The Lighthouse, Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture. Situated in the heart of Glasgow city centre, and home to a permanent Mackintosh exhibition - The Lighthouse is the perfect place to begin your Mackintosh journey through the city.
Another place to view a fantastic collection of Mackintosh objects and furniture is the Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style Gallery at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. As the largest permanent display of work in the world by the key names in the Glasgow Style movement, you will find furniture, stained glass, metalwork and even reconstructed rooms from this internationally important period of design.
During his career, Mackintosh designed a range of key city buildings, from educational facilities to tearooms, from church halls to domestic dwellings, leaving a magnificent legacy of buildings, drawings, designs and motifs stamped upon his home city.
You can witness the mature architecture’s genius on full display with his final major city commission and now popular visitor attraction, Scotland Street School. The building is now a museum dedicated to telling the story of education in Scotland and is one of many Mackintosh masterpieces in the city.
Mackintosh's architectural masterpiece, Glasgow School of Art (GSA)* (closed following a major fire - see below for details), was voted by the Royal Institute of British Architects as the finest building designed by a British architect in the last 175 years.
House for an Art Lover is a unique visitor attraction located in the tranquil surrounds of Bellahouston Park in the south of the city. The House was built in 1996 taking inspiration from a portfolio of Mackintosh drawings which he had submitted as a competition entry to a German design magazine in 1901. The building includes a permanent exhibition of decoratively furnished rooms.
Designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903, Miss Cranston’s original Willow Tea Rooms in their Sauchiehall Street location underwent a meticulous restoration, reopening as Mackintosh at the Willow in 2018 - a world-class cultural and heritage attraction. Visitors can now enjoy the new exhibition, visitor centre, tea room and gift shop, showcasing the achievements of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh and Miss Kate Cranston.
For a vision of gothic beauty, with atmospheric abundance, check out Queen’s Cross Church in the north of the city. Infused with the flourishes of a virtuoso architect within each brick, window pane and floral motif; it is no wonder that it has become a popular venue for concerts and weddings.
To view how the architect and his wife, the artist Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh, lived themselves, then head to The Hunterian, located on the University of Glasgow campus. Here, you will find The Mackintosh House, a meticulous re-assembly of the interiors of their Glasgow home, with each room an outstanding work of art in their own right.
His own home wasn't the only domestic project that Mackintosh worked on over the years. A house of beautiful contrast, Mackintosh's Hill House in Helensburgh was built as his vision of a "home for the future" between 1902 and 1904 and is considered one of his greatest works. ***Closed for conservation work until spring 2019 - see below for details
A Mackintosh inspired installation, The Light Pavilion, is currently in place in Glasgow’s iconic Central Station. Designer Scott Jarvie has fully utilised the natural light that filters through the glass roof in Glasgow’s Central Station throughout his design to honour Mackintosh as the master of light, pattern and form. Standing 15ft high and more than six-feet wide, The Light Pavilion invites commuters and tourists to sit, think and reflect if they wish.
*Following a major fire in the Mackintosh Building on the 15 June 2018, The Glasgow School of Art visitor centre, shop and exhibition spaces in the neighbouring Reid building are currently closed to visitors. For upcoming events, lectures and degree shows at The Glasgow School of Art, view their events calendar.
***The Hill House is currently closed while they carry out an extraordinary conservation project to tackle long-term water ingress and protect it from the rain. They hope to reopen this iconic Mackintosh property in spring 2019, find out more about the restoration.