Rising above Sauchiehall Street to the north is one of the city centre’s steepest hills, with Dalhousie and Scott streets veering up to Renfrew Street, where you’ll find Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art. Widely considered to be the pinnacle of Mackintosh’s work, the school is a characteristically angular building of warm sandstone that, due to financial constraints, had to be constructed in two sections (1897–99 and 1907–09). There’s a clear change in the architect’s style from the earlier severity of the mock-Baronial east wing to the softer lines of the western half.
The only way to see the school is to take a student-led guided tour; these show off-key examples of Mackintosh’s dynamic and inspired touch and a handful of the most impressive rooms. All over the school, from the roof to the stairwells, Mackintosh’s unique touches recur – Japanese lantern shapes, images of seeds and roses and stylized Celtic illuminations.