Thursday’s Special : The Lighthouse

Did you guess where I was, among the rooftops?

Did you guess where I was, up among the rooftops in Glasgow?

Looking down

Looking down

This might be the clue you need

Maybe this is the clue you need?

The Glasgow Herald Building is known as ‘The Lighthouse’ and was designed by Glasgow-born architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.  Now Scotland’s Centre of Architecture, Design and the City, it has one floor dedicated to the work of its designer. When I read that I could ascend the tower for views over Glasgow’s rooftops there was never any doubt that I would seek out the building.

The building was Rennie Mackintosh’s first public commission and was built between 1893-1895.  A former warehouse, its most prominent feature is the tower, which was designed to contain an 8.000 gallon water tank, to protect the building from fire hazard. When the Herald moved to new premises in the early eighties, it stood unoccupied for 15 years. Thankfully today’s model is as cutting edge as Rennie Mackintosh was in his time.

I entered it in pure excitement.  Ascending the escalator to the third floor I marvelled at what I found there.  Tiny models of designs of his that were never even completed sat alongside others of his landmark Glasgow buildings.  I found myself longing to visit them all.

How sad that this was never built

How sad that this was never built

But this one was

But this one was- the Glasgow School of Art

There are drawings to examine

There are drawings to examine

Like House for an Art Lover, completed after his death

Like the plans for ‘House for an Art Lover’, completed after his death

And numerous design details

And numerous design details

Rennie Mackintosh admired simple forms and natural materials.  In his design he used texture and the contrast of light and shadow. He admired Japanese design but developed his own style, with strong right angles and the decorative floral motifs, with subtle curves, for which he is known. This building and its use of industrial space is a fitting tribute to him.

Impossible not to love!

For me it’s a love affair


Visit The Lighthouse website for a better look at his work.  As it says in the video, “each of the properties will tell you a different piece of the story”.  Sadly I never did get to climb that tower.  It was closed for repairs!  But I took the lift to the sixth floor for the rooftop view anyway.  You can take a virtual tour of the Mackintosh Centre and the viewing platform on the website (on a much sunnier day than I managed).

I am dedicating this post to Paula.  She is not able to delight us with her usual Thursday’s Special this week due to pressure of work and being ill.  Get well soon Paula.  We miss you!



  1. Amazing, Jo. It really is too bad that the amazing building you picture was never built. I’ve studied Art History and love MacKintosh’s simple lines and natural materials. Too bad you couldn’t make it up the tower. At least you’re not so far away, you can go back sometime. I love the view down into the lobby with the red chairs. 🙂

    1. Hi Cathy 🙂 You’ve had a busy morning! I’m starting with the least recent first. It feels so long since Glasgow!!! Isn’t memory a funny thing?
      Viveka was talking about a meetup and asked if I could get to Belfast in November. I might try 🙂 She also asked when we were in the Algarve and my head was so full of Poland, I hadn’t booked anything. I have now! We’re there for just a week from 4th June. Vivi’s in Istanbul next week, and meeting Nia. An amazing world this blogging one, isn’t it?

      1. It will be great if you can meet Viveka in Belfast. Always a fun excuse to explore a new place and meet a fellow blogger! I’m so excited you’ve booked for Tavira. I’ll be there in heart!!! 🙂

  2. Jo, a fantastic job with this post and the photos again.
    You’re getting so good *smile
    I’m not a great fan of Mackintosh – don’t ask me why … because I don’t have a clue, because I like art décor. The lighthouse is truly stunning.
    I would visit if only for the house.
    Have checked out flights to Glasgow, but there is no flights direct from Copenhagen to Glasgow anymore. Wonder what happen there ????
    To Edinburgh there is, so maybe that is the way … fly to Edinburgh and then train to Glasgow.
    You have really made me want to visit this.

    1. I posted about Glasgow for more than a week, Vivi. I really did love it and have quite a list to see when I go back. It’s easier once you have your bearings, isn’t it? But then, I can get lost anywhere (and did!)
      Love ya, hon. I should be working on my Polish. Panic!!! 🙂

      1. Your Polish will come back when you are there … don’t worry about that.
        Glasgow is a terrific city – so much to see and do. Of course you should go back!!!!
        Time to pack now ???? Hug … before me washing up.

      1. I have indeed! We arrived in England last night and have had a stream of visitors today whilst surrounded by the contents of a large car which need to be packed away. We’reoff to my parents tomorrow for Roast Lamb and lots of being spoilt! Have a wonderful Easter with your loved ones 🙂

    1. I did, Dianne 🙂 My previous post has a rooftop shot of the chimney. There was a lift (cheating) to the viewing platform even though the tower itself was closed. Hope you’re having a happy Easter!

  3. Such beautiful architecture and as usual you’ve captured the beauty so well Jo. Thanks for sharing. 😀

  4. cara amica, mi stai veramente facendo conoscere angoli bellissimi e molto interessanti di questa città…praticamente è come se la stessi guardando con i miei occhi, quelle vecchie foto hanno piacevolmente attirato la mia attenzione
    dove andrai di bello oggi? chissà….:-)

    1. Ventis, it’s that peaceful time of day when I sit with my coffee and marvel at the world (and try to answer your questions 🙂 ) I hope you have a beautiful weekend planned for this very special time of year.
      With much affection- Johanna.

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