Scotland’s national centre for design and architecture is The Lighthouse in Mitchell Street, Glasgow. Formerly the city centre building housed the print offices of the Glasgow Herald Newspaper. The media hub was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1895 and one of the most important aspects of the building is the water tower which held 8000 gallons ready to supply a sprinkler system in case of fire.
When the newspaper moved out of the building, the space stood unloved and empty until it re- emerged as The Lighthouse. The centre is great, free Glasgow visit. Steps to the water tower viewing platform are epic! The external design rose out of the hard landscape of the city and was intended to appear like a flower in full bloom.
Beside the imagined open bloom of the red sandstone water tower is the chimney. The yellow brick structure was intended by Mackintosh to appear like a flower stalk, denuded of petals yet red bricks signal seeds and new life to come.
A great view of both towers is possible from Floor 6 of the building, where there is also a spectacular view across the city rooftops. If you are lucky you might hear someone playing the piano in the space, the acoustic is lovely. Check out my Facebook page to hear what it sounds like!
Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city and the distinctive branding which appears everywhere is simply that ‘ People make Glasgow’.
I wonder what Charles Rennie Mackintosh would make of the building becoming a centre recognising his contribution to architecture. His life was one of great success before his star sadly dimmed. Yet today he is revered, to the extent that he is a national treasure and his dapper image is precious part of Scottish culture, even in the design of bath ducks!