Glasgow’s world-famous School of Art is to be partially demolished following a devastating fire earlier this month.
The south facade of the seminal building by Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which backs on to the O2 ABC, will be reduced and the east and west gables may also be taken down, Glasgow City Council said in a statement.
A “partial dismantling” will begin in the coming days after recent surveys revealed more substantial movement in the walls of the building than experts previously thought.
“This means a sudden collapse of parts of the building is likely, rather than possible,” the council said, adding it was now a “matter of urgency”.
The authority said the “dangerous nature” of the site meant it would take around two days to formulate a plan for taking down the south façade, which is the most seriously affected part of the building”.
The West gable of the Mackintosh building has continued to deteriorate and the East gable has continued to move outwards, the council also noted.
Head of building control Raymond Barlow said: “This building has undergone substantial stress in recent days. With each passing day a sudden collapse becomes more likely.
“It has become urgent that we take down the south façade. As the process begins it will be likely that the other walls will also need to be reduced.
“We do not know what effect this will have on the rest of the building so I have to be clear this site remains dangerous and is becoming more dangerous. It is particularly important that people observe the cordon which remains in place.”
A fire broke out at the art school on June 15, with more than 100 firefighters battling to save it, along with the O2 ABC music venue on Sauchiehall Street.
In the following days building control experts inspected the building to determine whether it could be saved.
The Herald Scotland reported that initial possibilities included another restoration project, estimated at around £100 million, or taking the remaining structure down and rebuilding it brick by brick on the current site, which could cost as much as £200m.
Nicola Sturgeon said after visiting the site earlier this months that the Scottish Government was ready to do “anything we reasonably can” to ensure the Mackintosh Building has a future, the newspaper reported.
The west wing of the building including some studios, the library and some archival stores, was also damaged by fire in May 2014.
The Mackintosh building, according to the Glasgow School of Arts website, while rightly associated with “the innovative work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh during the late 1890s, early 1900s” predates him by some 50 years.
The school was originally founded in January 1845 as Glasgow’s Government School of Design. When it was decided a larger building was required, an architectural competition took place in 1896, which was won by Mackintosh.