Art School buildings ‘inoperable’

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Forty-three per cent of Glasgow School of Art (GSA) buildings have been revealed as “at serious risk of major failure” or as not fit for purpose in a database obtained by the Guardian.

After the national newspaper won a legal battle, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce) was forced to make the data, detailing the condition of Britain’s university buildings, public.

The report, from 2007/8, reveals that 34% of GSA non-residential buildings fall under functional suitability category 4, which Hefce describes as “poor, the room/building fails to support current functions and/or is unsuitable for current use”. 9% of its buildings are classed as in condition D: “inoperable, or [at] serious risk of major failure or breakdown.”

According to GSA, the high proportion of buildings in category 4 is attributable to the fact that they were not purpose built and have been recognised as no longer fit for purpose.

GSA is planning an extensive rebuild and has secured in-principle funding for the first stage of these plans for completion in 2013, with the second stage to follow soon after.

A spokesperson for GSA said: “The complete redevelopment of the School’s estate, centred around the recently refurbished Grade A-listed Mackintosh Building, will transform the current incoherent and inefficient scatter of buildings, into a coherent urban campus providing world-class teaching and research facilities and space for growth.”

Graphic Design student, Tom Stuttard, finds some of the buildings difficult to work in.

He said: “The ceiling tiles are hanging off and it’s either freezing or like a sauna […] the studios are pretty cramped but when most art students at other institutes don’t even have their own studio space you feel pretty lucky. It’ll be great to have a swish new building. We’re all about aesthetics — we should have a nice workplace too!”