The Architects' Journal visits Glasgow crews

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Artwork presented to express industry's appreciation for firefighters who attended the Mackintosh fire in May.

Architects Glasgow Cowcaddens Yorkhill artist Bruce McLean 

A leading architecture magazine presented an award to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) to express the profession's gratitude to the firefighters’ who saved Glasgow’s Mackintosh Building from complete destruction.

Representatives of The Architects’ Journal visited two of the crews who were among the first responders to May’s fire.

The magazine’s acting editor, Rory Olcayto, and art editor Brad Yendle spoke with the crews and presented them with a specially-commissioned work by artist Bruce McLean.

Group Manager Stephen McGrath of the SFRS City of Glasgow team said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the response we’ve had and the compliments that have come in from all over the world.

“More than 600 firefighters were involved at the incident and it really was an outstanding job – the hard work and tactical planning of the first responding crews and those who followed really showed.

“On behalf of everyone at the service in the City of Glasgow I would like to express our thanks to The Architects’ Journal for this recognition of that effort.

“We’ll certainly make sure this artwork is displayed where everyone who serves here will be able to see it for many years to come.”

Station Manager Eddie Finnieston added: “The Mackintosh Building is obviously of great importance to the city as a whole and also to global communities of architects and artists. It’s clear the incident touched many, many people in a very profound way.

“The crews here at Cowcaddens and Yorkhill were on the scene within a few minutes and they remained throughout the day as a key part of very challenging and aggressive firefighting operations.

“It means a lot to us that Rory and Bert took the time to travel up from London and present this unique token of appreciation on behalf of The Architects’ Journal.”

An informal ceremony at the SFRS City of Glasgow Headquarters saw firefighters from both Cowcaddens and Yorkhill presented with the commemorative artwork.

Rory Olcayto said: “The architectural profession in Britain and further afield wanted to show our gratitude for what the fire service did to rescue what is considered to be one of the greatest buildings in world architecture.

“The Mackintosh is an extremely important building for Glasgow and Glaswegians. It’s also important to the architectural culture of Britain.

“We asked Bruce – as an artist from the city and who went to the Glasgow School of Art – if he would create an artwork that conveyed the architectural profession’s respect and appreciation for everything the firefighters did.

“Their bravery, intelligence, civic-mindedness and quick-wittedness were unbelievable and thanks to them the building is pretty much intact.”

Bruce McLean added: “I love that building and when I heard it was on fire I couldn’t believe it. All the people I know – the artists and architects – they were absolutely shattered.

“We thought the building would be destroyed and to hear it had been saved was just fantastic. The job done by the fire service was incredible.”