Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.

Falkirk Wheel, Panoramic view.
Image by Cameron Lyall, GNU license Wikimedia

15 July 2011

Charles Mackintosh's Glaswegian Legacy


Going through Glasgow, it is easy to forget that one is in "Stab City". It has beautiful parks, fantastic shopping, and if it is warm enough, plenty of attractive, shirtless men walking around. However, the main thing that connects Glasgow together is Charles Mackintosh, the architect whose influence can be seen around the city. His simplistic style is easily recognizable, which makes it easy to be replicated. Here is my virtual attempt to recreate my experience in the city, with a simple game: Mackintosh or Mockintosh. To reveal the answer, highlight the text.

MACKINTOSH: The Glasgow School of Art (GSA) is a great example of a user-centered design project. There is an abundance of natural light, which is beneficial for artists. The layout of the building welcomes community where it needs to, like studio space, and inhibits it where it is unneeded, like in a library. The building in and of itself is a piece of art, with ornate details everywhere you look. The font is world renown, and can be found on many buildings all around the city. The art school-turned-museum is very much so in the spirit of post-industrialism: it is not only repurposing, but gives citizens a sense of culture. Additionally, it is a different approach to museums: Instead of taking all of the Mackintosh pieces out and housing them in a museum, you're invited to see the space the way it was designed for its intended audience. What is interesting is how even though the school is a work of art, one can still see the influence of industrialism on the school: the different places for men and women, the clocks that are circuited together to all have the same time, and the fact that the student is always in the gaze of the pan option. Interestingly, as time has passed these things have become post-industrial. Men and women work side by side, the clocks no longer work, and there seems to be nobody watching anybody, creating an independence for the artist.
Elements to consider:
1. Squares
2. Balance
3. Simplicty

MOCKINTOSH: These chairs were on display at the Museum of Transportation, also known as the Riverside Museum. In Scotland, it is extremely popular i've learned to have collections within collections, which gives a very haphazard feel to a space. For example, at a museum about transportation, one would not expect an exhibit about the fashion of the 19th century, furniture making, or what 'pub life' is like. This is because the Scots prefer to give histories of the people and not just the artifact. The intended audience for the museum was definitely children indicative by the story lines that went along with artifacts, the fact that placards were below adult eye-level, and the millions of germs that were on every surface of the museum.
Elements to consider:
1. high-backed chair
2. "eye" detail on the left chair
3. lattice-like back.
**These were done by EA Taylor in the early 1900s **

MOCKINTOSH: Although one could ride on the "clockwork orange", it was a beautiful day out, so Kate and I decided to picnic in the park. Walking around Glasgow, My experience was very similar to my first time being handed a map of Syracuse, NY: although the map is flat, the terrain is not. It is one of the most hilly cities I have ever been in.We have been given a lot of independence on this trip, which really allowed each and every one of us to do the things we wanted to do and experience the city the way we saw fit. I grabbed lunch at a cafe, and enjoyed it in a nearby park. The space was green, open, and plenty of "suits" kicked off their heels and dress shoes to bask in the sunshine. Although they looked at their watches making sure they would return to the office in time, it was interesting to see these people taking serious liesure time. Walking through up the street, this light post remind me that i was not in some residential area, but rather a city that is always changing and constantly creating. The constant change was a common theme in Charles Mackintosh's work.

Elements to consider:
1. Squares
2. Simplicty
3. Metal-work

Ride the "Clockwork Orange", Glasgow's subway system.

MACKINTOSH: The Glasgow Society of Women Artists' building is found on Blythswood square, just a short walk away from the Glasgow School of Art. According to their website, "The Society... contributes to the cultural life of the City by offering scope for the development of artistic skills and providing a forum for artists of all disciplines." It is building like this, all throughout Glasgow that give the city a refreshing look, and make it not so industrial. Although I did not stop in, the building caught my eye as i walked past.

elements to consider:
1. Paneled glass windows
2. Japanese influence
3. squares

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