Curated by Mark Baines and Professor Christopher Platt of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at The Glasgow School of Art, Drawing on Holl illuminates the design process through which Steven Holl Architects’ new Reid Building came into being. Staged in the Mackintosh Building, the exhibition explores the architectural dialogue between these two significant buildings.
Distanced in time and space by a little over one hundred years and the width of a street, the creative architectural practices of Steven Holl Architects and Charles Rennie Mackintosh engage on the slope of Garnethill. Designed and won in competition by Steven Holl and partner Chris McVoy, in association with JM Architects (Glasgow) the new Reid Building accommodates a relocated Directorate, Design School studios, specialist workshops, auditorium, refectory, exhibition spaces, a new visitor center and the Student Union.
The parallels and inverted contrasts between the two buildings are found not only in their respective programs and geographically mirrored situations but also in preoccupations with light, construction technique and spatial disposition which inform the day to day experience of both buildings.
The exhibition chronologically charts the design development of the Reid Building and depicts the driven voids of light, the circuit of connection, the circulation which encourages the notion of “creative abrasion” and the reversed construction method of thick skin/thin bones as in Mackintosh against thin skin/thick bone of the Reid Building.
At the heart of the exhibition are prints of the watercolors created by Steven Holl as the design of the Reid Building evolved. These watercolor sketches investigate and visualize the compositional form, appearance and spatial qualities of the interiors and the facades, in particular the sourcing and the controlled interplay of natural light. These concept sketches initiate model studies, which then inform new sketches, in an iterative cycle of critiques and discoveries within the studio.