Charles Rennie Mackintosh was an exceptional draughtsman, so for the lovers of architectural drawings, the new 'Mackintosh Architecture' exhibition at the RIBA is just what the doctor ordered. Yet the visual feast promised by the wealth of Mackintosh's beautifully crafted ink drawings is not the only reason to visit this show.
The exhibition, opening today at the institute's Architecture Gallery, is an in-depth look at Mackintosh as an architect, as opposed to a furniture designer. The curators, Pamela Robertson, senior curator and professor of Mackintosh studies at The Hunterian for the Glasgow exhibition and Susan Pugh, RIBA drawings and archives curator, explore several of the Scottish architect's work, focusing on both built and unbuilt work. Mackintosh's portfolio is a 'bridge towards modernism', says Pugh. The story is told through a total of over 60 hand drawings, accompanied by scale models.
The displays include public buildings, multi-family housing projects, as well as several villas - the Glasgow Herald Building, Scotland Street school, The Hill House, Windyhill and the famed Glasgow School of Art are some of the key examples. The latter is of course another key reason to visit the show, and one that makes it a timely one. Mackintosh Architecture - a reworking of an earlier show at the Hunterian in Glasgow - is an appropriate reminder of the Scottish architect's precious legacy, following the Glasgow School of Art's tragic, destructive fire of 2014.
Tracking Mackintosh's career, from his apprenticeships (he started his first architecture one aged 16), to his early years as a young architect at Honeyman Keppie, and through to his evolution into an established architect and designer (and the formation of Honeyman Keppie & Mackintosh); this exhibition is a must-see.