The Mackintosh Library Prototype

A 1:1 scale prototype of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's famous library

As part of the research phase of the reconstruction of the Mackintosh Library at the Glasgow School of Art, Page\Park recommended the commissioned of a full scale prototype section of the room. This was manufactured in collaboration with joiners from Laurence McIntosh, and was used as a testing ground to confirm our drawn research and detailing.

The process of construction was documented in detail, and allowed experimentation with exact profiles, jointing details, and carving techniques, as well as testing paint colours and stain finishes. The completed prototype was then reviewed by an external expert panel to confirm that the reconstructed room would be built to exacting specifications required for an evidenced based reconstruction. 

The people behind the prototype

Natalia Burakowska joined Page\Park in 2013 from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Poland after studying the Preservation of Architectural Heritage. Since the time of our appointment in 2015, Natalia  meticulously researched, measured and drew the library. The prototype is the culmination of her hard work and rigorous conservation approach. The Library has been fully drawn and modelled by Natalia using BIM technology, meaning every element of the Library is modelled in meticulous detail.

Andy Zahn is an architect and our in-house model maker at Page \ Park. He worked closely with Natalia for over 2 years to get to grips with every detail of the original Library construction. Through a process of hand drawing and modelling, Andy’s detailed studies complemented Natalia’s methodical approach. Andy studied and hand-drew the carved pendants in the library, drawings which were then passed on to the joiners to begin the conversation about how to recreate the subtleties of the original library.

Angus Johnston is one of the talented craftsmen at Laurence McIntosh who were tasked with interpreting our drawings into reality. The joiners were directly involved in discussions with Andy and Natalia throughout the making of the prototype, to make sure all of their research and testing was translated into reality.

Martins Cirulis is the carver at Laurence McIntosh who carved the intricate timber pendant for the prototype. Martins is originally from Latvia and showed a skill and craftsmanship in his work that was felt to convey the same humanity of the original carvings. It is important that the work displays a sense of confidence, and a unique hand in order to have the same human spirit as the original pendants.

Project Info

The Glasgow School of Art