'Design for a Public Hall', The British Architect, volume 34

About this object

From boyhood Charles Rennie Mackintosh wanted to be an architect and aged 16, began his apprenticeship with a Glasgow firm. When he completed his training in 1889, he was taken on as a draughtsman by local firm Honeyman and Keppie.

Only a year later, Mackintosh won an important competition for aspiring architects. What you see here is his winning design for the Thomson Travelling Scholarship, set up in the name of Alexander Thomson; an influential Glasgow-based architect, working in the middle of the nineteenth century. He was known as 'Greek' Thomson, because classical Greece was one influence on his style.

For the competition, Mackintosh had to create 'an original design for a public hall for 1000 persons' and the style had to be 'early classic'. We can see that Mackintosh fulfilled the brief in his competition entry-at first glance you can see that it looks like a Greek temple. It actually looks very like St George's Hall, which is the large neo-classical style building you see opposite the Walker Art Gallery. And as we will find out as we go through the exhibition, this winning drawing in a classical style looks very different from his later work.

For his prize, Mackintosh was awarded a scholarship to travel abroad. He chose a tour around Italy, visiting 23 different towns to study Italian architecture. You can see some drawings from the sketch book he made on his trip on the screen on your right.

Mackintosh's successful entry for the travelling scholarship was published in this Journal, 'The British Architect'. So what you see in front of you represents a key moment in the young architect's career. Aged just 22, he was already making a name for himself.
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