Summer in the City Field Study —– Stephanie Kozick
Introduction to the Field Study: The aim of this city field study is to gather information on the history of urban domestic space. At the turn of the century when the industrial revolution set the modern city into motion, buildings for urban dwellers were in demand. Iconic images of soot studded, drab buildings come to mind. A group of secessionist artists and architects around the English Channel initiated new designs to counter what they recognized as the deplorable effects of unchecked urban growth. They applied an aesthetic consciousness of flora and fauna and defied straight lines by making elegant use of the curve to beautify city facades.
This city study involves inquiry about efforts to beautify the turn of the century city. Previous work on this question revealed that Art Nouveau, a philosophy and style of art and architecture situated between 1890 (as the 20th century emerged) and 1914 (the start of the First World War, which derailed so much in Europe’s art world), was active in the work of urban design aesthetics. Urban fieldwork on the topic of domestic space informs the field of human development. As cities of the world became more populated and busy, it was the urban home that offered needed human solace. The notion of beautifying urban dwellings was pursued by artists identified with the architectural Art Nouveau movement. Architects such as Victor Horta in Brussels led the quest to offer city dwellers a more beautiful place to live. But what prompted the particular stylistic features of Art Nouveau? Adherents of Art Nouveau recognized the essentialness of the curve as an element that softened the urban landscape. What is it about the architectural curve that satisfies the eye, calms the spirit, and opens the heart? Might the curve act as a bridge across varying cultural urban aesthetics? Art Nouveau architecture can still be seen in cities that preserved its time-honored features. Art Nouveau takes into account a group of artists who gave the movement signatures of architectural features in facades, glass, and ironwork. The work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928) and the artist Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864-1933) offer key illustrations of the distinctive, yet shared sphere of urban Art Nouveau. Hill House (1904) in County Argyll is an essential representation of their partnered work on the domestic residence of the Blackie family.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born and educated in Glasgow, Scotland, and became a significant figure in the development and beautification of that city. Glasgow offers the researcher venues for the study of Mackintosh’s style and works: Queen’s Cross Church, designed by Mackintosh in 1896 (now home to the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society); The Glasgow School of Art, designed by Mackintosh in 1897; The Willow Tea Rooms, designed by Mackintosh in 1904; The Mackintosh House, part of the Hunterian Art Gallery at University of Glasgow; and the Kelvingrove Museum’s Mackintosh Exhibit; the House for an Art Lover designed in Margaret Macdonald and Rennie Mackintosh in 1901; the Scotland Street School Museum, and Hill House in Helensburgh, County Argyll.
This field study will take place in Glasgow, Scotland where artifacts of urban Art Nouveau will be located, observed, and documented in photography. Library research will be conducted at the University of Glasgow Library Archives, and the archives at The Glasgow School of Art. Photographs and archival information on the work of Margaret Macdonald and Charles Rennie Mackintosh and their contributions to the Art Nouveau movement will form the core of a final presentation to the Summer in the City program. The libraries at The Glasgow School of Art and University of Glasgow have been contacted via online to secure permission to view the archives. The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society has been contacted for resource information.
Tue 12 Jul 11 KLM Flight 6032 13:40 Seattle (Seattle Tacoma, Washington, USA) -08:30 Amsterdam (Schiphol, Netherlands)
Wed 13 Jul 11 KLM Flight 1473 09:30 Amsterdam (Schiphol, Netherlands) -10:05 Glasgow (International Airport, UK)
Wed 20 Jul 11 KLM Flight 1470 06:00 Glasgow (International Airport, UK) -08:40 Amsterdam (Schiphol, Netherlands)
Wed 20 Jul 11 KLM Flight 6033 10:25 Amsterdam (Schiphol, Netherlands) -11:35 Seattle (Seattle Tacoma, Washington, USA)
The Alamo Guest House
46 Gray Street, Kelvingrove
Glasgow G3 7SE
+44 (0)141 339 2395
City Information (adapted from entries in Wikipedia): Glasgow, the largest city in Scotland, is situated on the River Clyde, historically important to shipbuilding and trade for the British Empire. The city’s geography is west central lowlands. The University of Glasgow, founded in 1451, is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world. The institution became a center of the Scottish Enlightenment in the 18th century and was characterized by intellectual and scientific accomplishments. By 1750, Scots were among the most literate citizens of Europe, with an estimated 75% level of literacy. The culture was oriented to books and discussions took place daily at intellectual gathering places. With the Industrial Revolution, the city and surrounding region shifted to become one of the world’s pre-eminent centers of Heavy Engineering, most notably in the Shipbuilding and Marine engineering industry. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Glasgow grew to a population of over one million, and was the fourth-largest city in Europe, after London, Paris and Berlin. In the 1960s, comprehensive urban renewal projects resulting in large-scale relocation of people to new towns and suburbs, followed by successive boundary changes, reduced the current population of the City of Glasgow to 580,690. Glasgow has a history of decline and renewal; after suffering a post WWI recession, the city recovered following WWII, but by the 1960s the city’s industries were weakened by competition and economic decline and rapid de-industrialization occurred, leading to high unemployment, urban decay, population decline, welfare dependency and poor health for the city’s inhabitants. By the late 1980s, a resurgence in Glasgow’s economic fortunes resulted from the city’s new role as a European center for business services and finance and the promotion of tourism and inward investment. This economic revival has persisted and the ongoing regeneration of inner-city areas, including the large-scale Clyde Waterfront Regeneration, has led to more affluent people moving back to live in the center of Glasgow. Despite this evidence of financial success, the Center for Social Justice reported that, at present, 29.4% of the city’s working-age residents are “economically inactive.” Glasgow’s climate is classified as Oceanic, also called marine west coast climate, or Cascadian climate, and can be likened to the Pacific Northwest. During the summer month of July, weather is reported to vary considerably from day to day and it can be mild and wet, warm with the odd sunny day, or overcast and humid often without rain. The currency of Scotland is the GBP Pound (£). Currently the currency exchange rate is 1.00 GBP to 1.60864 USD.
Field Study Books and Readings
Glasgow School of Art Aid (Architecture in Detail) (Macaulay, 2002): Research on Charles Rennie Mackintosh refers to the Glasgow School of Art as one of the architect’s masterpieces. Phaidon Press describes the building as “a synthesis of opposites: austere and delicate, dark and light, derivative yet innovative. While the towering outer wall seems to echo the Scottish baronial tradition and the exterior impression is one of imposing grandeur, the interior is a lively and complex set of spaces.” James Macaulay, the author of this book, promises to be a fine architectural chronicler; he has been a senior lecturer at the Mackintosh School of Architecture and former chairman of the Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain and the Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland. At sixty pages, the book will fit a pocket and flight bag-perfect for the air journey to Glasgow.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Kliczkowski & Thorburn, 2002): This book includes a chronology of Mackintosh’s work, providing a needed historical overview for a study of the architect. The book situates Mackintosh’s work in the Art Nouveau movement and as such will add to an understanding of the movement, “Mackintosh absorbed ideas from many different influences, which are visible in his works: for example, interior decorations such as at The Willow Tea Rooms are inspired by both Celtic and Art Nouveau designs.” The book will accompany a visit to The Willow Tea Rooms designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1904. Google maps sites a twenty-minute walk from my guesthouse to the tearoom.
Glasgow Almanac: An A-Z of the City and Its People (Terry, 2005): The “city and its people” sets the right stage for research in Glasgow. The author is a journalist for Glasgow’s Evening Times and the articles in this book were first published for that newspaper, a newspaper that I have now subscribed to online. The book’s articles are 250-word vignettes arranged by theme on “people, places and happenings” in the city, documenting the social history of the city in architecture, cuisine, law and crime, religion, shipbuilding, and sport, providing more, perhaps about the city than I have bargained for.
Buddha Da: A Novel (Donovan, 2004): Ah, and finally, fiction. Perusing titles of contemporary Scottish fiction from Kelman’s political novels to Welsh’s addiction classic Trainspotting, I found I was most attracted to Donovan’s book about a Glaswegian who finds Buddhism to his liking and starts a practice of meditation that changes his family life. Donavan’s use of dialect, which the author was reported provides, “a more direct line to the heart, you get closer” is appealing and the story suits my interests in family life, Glasgow, and meditation.
Art Nouveau: Thematic Essay (Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art – metmuseum.org)
Charles Rennie Mackintosh: Architect + Furniture Designer (Design Museum Collection – designmusuem.org/designinbritain)
Itinerary of Field Study Activities
day 1 Kelvingrove Museum’s Mackintosh Exhibit
day 2 Queen’s Cross Church
The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society
day 3 The Glasgow School of Art
The Glasgow School of Art Library
The Willow Tea Rooms
day 4 House for an Art Lover
day 5 Hunterian Art Gallery at University of Glasgow
University of Glasgow Library
day 6 Trip to Hill House in Helensburgh, County Argyll.
day 7 Mackintosh Heritage Group Walking Tour of Glasgow Style 1900 Architecture
Field Study Budget information:
Transportation to and from SeaTac $ 40.00
Local Transportation (est.) $ 100.00
Total for stay = (7 x £46) = £322.00) $ 517.99
Breakfast included in accommodation expense
Additional Meals (7 x 30) = $ 210.00
Health Insurance: Regents
Books and Supplies $ 45.09
Personal Expenses $ 75.00
TOTAL COST: $2254.28