Architecture of Education (2018)


At a time when the design of buildings for higher education is driven by a belief in the generic – and the banality consequent on that belief, the loss of Glasgow School of Art leads one to reflect that it was not always that way. It is a reminder of how important the architecture of learning is to the process of learning. That architecture might be a hut in a forest or a studio on the sea shore, or it might be a superbly conceived interlocking of spaces and visual ideas, as it was for Mackintosh. Or as is more common for an art school, a somewhat ad hoc but creative agglomeration of spaces. I am not disparaging the last mentioned. There is something wonderful about a college, like that of Dundee, in which one could still get lost – distracted by the beauty of poured concrete or terrazzo flooring – even after working there for twenty years.