Gallery: Steven Holl Unveils Light-Filled Glasgow School of Art


The Glasgow School of Art just announced that New York-based architect Steven Holl won the competition to design an elegant new studio, teaching and research building. The project focuses on reducing energy use by providing daylight infiltration deep within the building. Recycled glass is used exclusively throughout the entire facade of the art school building, and the interior spaces are flooded with light from carefully placed light wells and large windows.

Steven Holl collaborated with JM Architects and engineering firm Arup to design the light-filled building. The project is located directly across the street from the school’s well-known Mackintosh Building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which was completed in 1909. Mackintosh’s building was known for its manipulation and use of light and Holl and his team used this as an inspiration for the new building, which was designed to complement it. “Whereas the Mackintosh has a thick skin and thin bones, our building has a thin skin and thick bones. They are complementary,” said Holl when he unveiled the design last week in Glasgow.

The 121,094 sq ft art school building will house studio and project spaces, a lecture hall, seminar rooms, a café, and exhibition and administrative spaces. The entire facade will be coated in a skin of matte 100% recycled glass, which offers a translucent quality, without being overly reflective.

A large light well in the project’s roof provides daylight throughout the building, while north-facing windows provide even light in studio spaces. Rooms were placed and designed according to what kind of light they would receive during the school year, and when they would used the most. Additionally, the building, which is expected to be finished by 2013 includes an intelligent solar cavity that harvests heat in the winter and cools the building in the summer.

+ Steven Holl Architects

Via Core77 and Herald Scotland


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  1. REX's Propsal for the V... September 29, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    […] As the galleries and exhibition space are on the top floor they have the best access to natural daylighting streaming in from the skylights. During the summer, the inverted shape allows the building to […]

  2. monsieurx September 20, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    This sort of description:\’ thin skin… thick bones\” and vice-versa seems rather facile and very clever but not so thoughtful. would like to know more about the \”intelligent solar cavity\”. If this concept really works, how it works or is it the latest throw-away hip green thing to do?
    Without the qualifications and explanations the building appears rather banal, that is without any of the sophistication and crudeness of the Glasgow School of Art. But then again maybe it\’s just the renderings.

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