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Building type:




Project Status:


Gross Area:

11250 Sqm


BREEAM New Construction 2011 (UK) Excellent

Climatic zone:



Reid Building / 0 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 1 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 2 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 3 © Chris McVoy
Reid Building / 4 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 5 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 6 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 7 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 8 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 9 © Iwan Baan
Reid Building / 10 © Steven Holl Architects
Reid Building / 11 © Steven Holl Architects


The Seona Reid Building is in complementary contrast to Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s 1909 Glasgow School of Art – forging a symbiotic relation in which each structure heightens the integral qualities of the other.

A thin translucent materiality in considered contrast to the masonry of the Mackintosh building – volumes of light which express the school’s activity in the urban fabric embodying a forward-looking life for the arts.

This project’s unique interior and exterior forces on the design are the catalysts for creating a new 21st century model for the art school. Working simultaneously from the inside out - engaging the functional needs and psychological desires of the program - and the outside in - making connections to the city campus and relating to the Mackintosh building opposite - the design embodies the school’s aspirations in the city’s fabric.

Mackintosh’s amazing manipulation of the building section for light in inventive ways has inspired our approach towards a plan of volumes in different light. The studio/workshop is the basic building block of the building. Spaces have been located not only to reflect their interdependent relationships but also their varying needs for natural light. Studios are positioned on the north façade with large inclined north facing glazing to maximise access to the desirable high quality diffuse north light. Spaces that do not have a requirement for the same quality of natural light, such as the refectory and offices, are located on the South façade where access to sunlight can be balanced with the occupants needs and the thermal performance of the space through application of shading.

“Driven voids of light” allow for the integration of structure, spatial modulation and light. The “Driven Void” light shafts deliver natural light through the depth of the building providing direct connectivity with the outside world through the changing intensity and colour of the sky. In addition, they provide vertical circulation through the building, eliminating the need for air conditioning.

Along the South elevation, at the same height as the Mackintosh main studios, a landscape loggia in the form of a Machair gives the school an exterior social core open to the city. The natural vegetation with some stone work routes the water into a small recycling water pond which will reflect dappled sunlight onto the ceiling inside.
A ‘Circuit of Connection’ throughout the new GSA encourages the ‘creative abrasion’ across and between departments that is central to the workings of the school. The open circuit of stepped ramps links all major spaces – lobby, exhibition space, project spaces, lecture theatre, seminar rooms, studios, workshops and green terraces for informal gatherings and exhibitions.



Natural ventilation

Ventilation + Heat recovery

High efficient façade

Biomass heating systems

Rainwater harvesting

Water-saving sanitary appliances

Sustainable building materials

Low-emitting materials and finishes

High efficient lighting

Green or brown roofs

Daylighting maximised

Outdoor view maximised


Steven Holl Architects emphasizes sustainable building and site development as fundamental to
innovative and imaginative design. Working closely with the engineers, cost consultants and GSA through several workshop sessions, at the earliest stages of the design process, the team has implemented strategies for active and passive systems, to minimize the environmental footprint of the building, explore new materials to be used, and to minimize the impact of the construction process. The new building for the Glasgow School of Art was awarded BREEAM Excellent certification with a score of 74.15%.

The following environmental strategies were incorporated:

Natural ventilation:
Taking account of constraints such as traffic noise and deep-plan spaces, controllable, effective natural ventilation startegies were implemented in the studios and support spaces. The more areas this is achievable, the less energy will be used running fans and electric chillers.

Thermal mass:
Exposed concrete surfaces to moderate internal conditions without the need for energy intensive air-conditioning.

Twin-skin façade:
Passive heating and stack-driven ventilation is driven by the glass façade. Opportunities to make use of heat trapped in the façade during the winter and mid-season to heat the rooms behind the façade will be developed, and analysed for value using energy analysis software. The cavity is used as noise attenuating ventilation path in a natural ventilation mode.

Optimised light exposures:
Light is one of key focus of this design. The use of northern light is maximise within the Studio spaces. This provides the creative spaces with a constant quality natural light. ‘Driven voids’ are used to bring daylight deep into the building as well as to activate stack-effect driven natural ventilation serving all above ground spaces. A lighting control system responds to use and daylight demands, and the building’s glass façade is optimised for performance and integrated with thermal and solar control.

Gravity feed rainwater harvesting system for toilet flushing.

Storm-water attenuation strategy:
The building employs a storm water management system for collection and reuse. A storm water harvesting tank feeds sinks and lavatories. The Northern top roof is designed as a blue roof to attenuate water runoff during peak storm events.

A lightweight sedum roof system at the second floor and southern top roof fitted with a large number of plant species provides shelter and nourishment for local insects and birds.

Biomass Plant
A centralised facility serves the new building, the Mackintosh Building and Bourdon Building. Radiant heating is integrated into the concrete topping slab, and the thermal mass of the exposed concrete structure is used to moderate heating and cooling loads.

Building carbon footprint
The building's energy consumption is 100 kWh/m2 with a carbon footprint of 40 Kg CO2/m2, and a 30 percent reduction over current regulations.


Energy consumption:

100.00 KW/m² (31.700 KBtu/ft²)

Consumption type:

Actual Data

Annual carbon footprint:

40.00 KgCO2m² (430.556 KgCO2/ft²)

Climate zone:


Min. temperature =


Max temperature =


RH =



No product info available



The Glasgow School of Art



Steven Holl Architects


Steven Holl , Chris McVoy , Dominik Sigg , Dimitra Tsachrelia , Rychiee Espinosa , Scott Fredricks , JongSeo Lee , Jackie Luk , Fiorenza Matteoni , Ebbie Wisecarver , Dominik Sigg , Peter Adams , Rychiee Espinosa , JM Architects , Henry McKeown , Craig Tait , Paul Twynam , Vicky Batters , Ian Alexander , Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates


Cost consultant:

Turner & Townsend


Turner & Townsend

Specialist consultant:

Cyril Sweett , Turley Associates

Structural Engineer:

Ove Arup & Partners



Sir Robert McAlpine


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