Glasgow is Scotland's largest city. Renowned for its football, curry houses and the distinctive Glaswegian accent of its down-to-earth inhabitants, the city also functions as a bustling reminder of 19th and early 20th-Century architecture. No architect left his mark on the city more than Glasgow-born Charles Rennie Mackintosh, so we here at Flight Centre thought we would take on you a guided tour of his top five buildings in the city.
Glasgow School of Art
Considered by many critics to be Mackintosh's masterpiece, the Glasgow School of Art's main building on Renfrew Street was built in two distinct phases. Building on the East Wing started in 1897 and was completed just before the turn of the century. After additional funds were secured, construction resumed for a two-year period in 1907 to build the West Wing. The finished structure is a testament to Mackintosh's love of nature combined with his Art Nouveau influences. With its dramatic facades, imposing windows, decorative balconies and iconic interiors, the Glasgow School of Art is now synonymous with Mackintosh's singular style.
What was once the Glasgow Herald building these days houses The Lighthouse – Scotland's Centre for Design and Architecture. The Herald offices were Mackintosh's first architectural commission and he integrated a spiralling water tower into the design. Today, The Lighthouse offers unparalleled views over Glasgow from its commanding position in the heart of the city centre and it remains a defining landmark on the city's distinctive skyline. The rest of the building is dedicated to art galleries and exhibitions – a fitting tribute to an architect determined to create functioning spaces.
Queen's Cross Church
Dominating a corner of Glasgow's sprawling Maryhill district, the striking Queen's Cross Church is the only church Mackintosh completed. Labelled a Modern Gothic design for the absence of a conspicuous tower, Queen's Church lacks the adornments of many similar structures of that era, having been commissioned by the austere Free Church movement. It stands impressively amidst modern tenement buildings and former warehouses and these days doubles as the home of The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society, which now runs the building as a popular tourist attraction.
Scotland Street School Museum
Considered another Mackintosh classic, no self-respecting tour of the architect's work neglects a stop by the Scotland Street School Museum. A building dogged by controversy during its construction – with unorthodox light-reflecting lead windows contributing to its spiralling costs – the imposing structure nonetheless served as a school for more than 75 years before its conversion into the museum it is today.
House For An Art Lover
Not - technically speaking - a Mackintosh building, the House For An Art Lover in Bellahouston Park is nonetheless a contemporary reminder of his enduring legacy. Built between 1989 and 1996 from a design sketched by Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald in 1901, the building generated considerable controversy when it opened to the public. Primarily used as a conference venue and centre for visual arts, the building has drawn mixed reviews from those who believe it doesn't necessarily adhere to the couple's original vision. It is nevertheless an outstanding example of the Art Nouveau style and well worth paying a visit to the south side of the city for.