Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scottish Architect Mackintosh Mastered on a Miniature Scale Series: Mackintosh's Design of the Residence Is Re-Created by Modelmaker Brian Gallagher. A Mackintosh Show Includes Gallagher's Models, PHOTOS COURTESY OF GLASGOW MUSEUMS

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Scottish Architect Mackintosh Mastered on a Miniature Scale Series: Mackintosh's Design of the Residence Is Re-Created by Modelmaker Brian Gallagher. A Mackintosh Show Includes Gallagher's Models, PHOTOS COURTESY OF GLASGOW MUSEUMS

Article excerpt

"What do you do after you've climbed Mount Everest?" asks Brian Gallagher. "This was special," he says.

Mr. Gallagher is an architectural modelmaker. His "Everest climb," even if not quite on a par with the highest mountain, is still no mean feat.

He has spent two years making mind-bafflingly exact scale-models of complex, individualistic buildings by the Glasgow architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, an artist at a crossroads between tradition and modernism. These models, featured in the major Mackintosh exhibition now touring the United States (which also includes Mackintosh's design work and paintings), can currently be seen at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art through Feb. 16. Alongside photographs, videos, and drawings, these scale models - though still no substitute for real buildings - are a vital help. Like most of Mackintosh's buildings, Gallagher belongs to Glasgow. He is (or was), he says, a "typical Glaswegian" because he "had never been inside a Mackintosh building - ever." His attitude was "no need to worry, they'll always be there." Only when this modelmaking job-of-a-lifetime came along did he start to study them - the masterpiece Glasgow School of Art, the private residence called the Hill House, the Willow Tea Rooms, and Scotland Street School. Countless working hours down the road - modelmaking way into the nights, over weekends - Gallagher has accrued detailed knowledge of these remarkable buildings. He has also gained great admiration for the architect himself, for his sheer inventiveness - and for the builders. "I feel totally for the builders!" he says. Mackintosh's habit of "turning up on site" and "basically telling the head stonemason that he'd changed his mind about that bit up there" must have been hard to bear. But then Mackintosh's architecture "was an evolutionary thing. He was learning as he went along. …

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