office in West Regent Street is also involved in a planning row.
Now that Thomson has been recognised, the main problem is less ignorance than money. But there is good news too. Holmwood House. the extraordinary villa in Cathcart built for a mill-owner. has been saved by the National Trust, while the occupiers of the CCA in Sauchiehall Street are demonstrating a clear understanding of the building’s importance during its current renovation.
The new exhibition is a testament to the many architects. historians and Glasgow citizens who have campaigned over the years to save many of Thomson’s threatened buildings. Prominent among them are the curators of the show — Dr Gavin Stamp of Glasgow School of Art who founded the Alexander Thomson Society and ﬁlmmaker Murray Grigor whose documentary on Thomson. Nineveh On The Clyde recently screened at the Glasgow Film Theatre. So will Thomson’s rehabilitation be complete? The buildings of Charles Rennie Mackintosh also suffered a period of decline before their importance was recognised — now the Mackintosh style has become a decorative cliché. Brace yourself for the Greek’ revival.
Alexander Thomson: The Unknown Genius is at The Lighthouse, Fri 25 Jun-Sun 19 Sep.
Bright light, big city
Charles Rennie Mackintosh ’s first public commission, THE LIGHTHOUSE, is now a shining example of architecture and design in the city centre.
For fifteen years, the former Herald Building in Glasgow ’5 Mitchell Street lay dark and dormant. Now it has found a new role as a flagship arts centre shedding light on architecture, design and the city. In a year in which a number of major venues in Glasgow are shut or proposing redevelopment, The Lighthouse - the largest architecture and design centre in Europe - will open up an unjustly neglected part of the city centre.
The conversion of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's earliest public commission into a multi-million pound exhibition space and educational facility has been managed by Page and Park Architects - the team behind the Italian Centre. The interior’s graphics are the work of Barcelona's image-maker Javier Mariscal and the café will be provided by Andrew Radford, the man behind Edinburgh’s Atrium.
The crucial test for the venue will be its ability not only to host the international design set, but also to support and sustain Scottish talent. Local designers One Foot Taller will have a show at the venue and there will be a review exhibition of the Glasgow Collection initiative. The Lighthouse combines a number of gallery spaces with conference facilities, state-of-the-art technology and special provision for children and young people. The Mackintosh Interpretation Centre, a permanent display, will become a focus for research and information on the architect and designer.
The building's distinctive corner office has become the Mackintosh Tower, offering views over the city to buildings designed by Glasgow greats and, well, not-so-greats. In the kind of irony that defines the city, the Lighthouse's near neighbour is the Mitchell Street Car Park, a textbook classic of concrete brutalism. Hopefully, the new venue will shine a little light in gloomy corners.
The Lighthouse is at 11 Mitchell Lane, Glasgow.
24 Jun—8 Jul 1999 "IE “81' 11