Drone footage reveals devastation caused by Glasgow School of Art fire

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Detailed work has begun to assess the condition of Glasgow School of Art (GSA) after the historic building was gutted in a blaze.

GSA said a team of experts was able to enter the Mackintosh Building to begin examining the scale of the damage on Monday and were “optimistic”.

The team included staff from GSA’s school of simulation and visualisation as well as those from Glasgow City Council, Historic Environment Scotland and specialist structural engineers David Narro Associations.

GSA director Professor Tom Inns and chair of the board of governors Muriel Gray were allowed access to the site for the first time on Tuesday.

Professor Tom Inns
Professor Tom Inns, right, seen near the scene (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“This was the first opportunity for the expert team to see the building and begin what will be a long and complex process of determining the future of the building, but we remain optimistic.”

Ms Gray added: “We are overwhelmed by the messages of support and offers of help from across the globe in the aftermath of Friday’s fire.

“There is a huge desire to see Mackintosh’s masterpiece rise again, one which we all share.

“We have incredibly detailed information on the building collated over the last four years, and have worked with teams of talented craftspeople who were doing a tremendous job on the restoration.

“However, this was one of our first proper looks at the building. As soon as we can we will share information with you.”

Glasgow School of Art
The fire at its height in the early hours of Saturday (Peter Swanton/PA)

She told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “Certainly I think the consensus is that there’s hope and we’re certainly not writing off the Mackintosh Building.

“Our intention and our focus will be to try to save that building and to find a future for it but it is very, very early days.”

Experts have estimated the cost of rebuilding the gutted Mackintosh Building would be at least £100 million, if anything can be salvaged at all.

Asked if it would be restored “at any cost”, Ms Aitken added: “We don’t know about that yet, it’s far too early to start talking about cost.

“We’ve seen lots of figures flying about but they are purely speculative, there’s no-one who is able to put a price on this at the moment.”

Glasgow School of Art
Concerns about contractors Kier Construction were raised in the chamber (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Addressing Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop, she said: “Does the cabinet secretary agree with me that it’s shocking that this particular company was in charge of the restoration of the most important piece of Scottish art ever produced?”

Ms Hyslop responded: “I cannot as a government minister rush to judgement on anything that can be said about the incident of the fire without the explanation that we can have from the investigations that are taking place and I would caution members in terms of what they accuse other institutions of doing or not doing until that information is there.”

Meanwhile, the council’s building control team took control of the site on Tuesday afternoon.

The local authority said the safety cordon around the site will be “significantly reduced”, allowing a number of businesses and residents who were evacuated in the early hours of Saturday morning to return to their properties.

A “substantial” exclusion zone will remain in place, however, while work continues to establish the condition of the building, the council said.

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