Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Charles Rennie Mackintosh Exhibit

Display case outside DAAP Library with Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibit.

A House for an Art Lover: Charles Mackintosh’s Vision of Scottish Vernacular with a Modern Spirit

This summer, DAAP Library is showcasing drawings by Scottish architect, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, which were part of a competition entry for a house for an artist. Produced within a deadline of only a few weeks, these drawings provide insight into the greatest contribution that Mackintosh made to the architecture discipline – the blending of structural and the ornamental elements of a building into a cohesive
work of art.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibit

Mackintosh was an innovator, and one of Scotland’s most celebrated artists. His astounding buildings creatively reimagined the past and opened new avenues for exploring modernism in architecture. Apart from being an architect, Mackintosh was also a highly accomplished artist and designer of interiors, furniture, metalwork, glass, and textiles. In addition, his contributions in graphic design, which combined nature and organic plant forms, made him an early proponent of Symbolism and
Art Nouveau.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibit

In December 1900, Mackintosh submitted some drawings of a few completed buildings in Scotland, at a competition for the design of a house for a connoisseur of the arts, announced by the publisher Alexander Koch. As was required for all other participants, Mackintosh submitted ten designs without using his own name, instead choosing the pseudonym “Der Vogel.” However, this entry was disqualified because the architect had not included the required number of interior perspectives, but the quality of his draughtsmanship, combined with the modern elements seen in his elevations won Der Vogel a special Purchase Prize of 600 Marks.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibit

It was the distinct characteristics of modernity evident through his design which caught the attention of the competition's judges. In comparison to the second prize winning house by notable British architect and artist M H Baillie Scott, Mackintosh’s design proposal was a radical reappraisal of Scottish vernacular building of the same period. His expertise in developing a new vocabulary for domestic architecture, as well as his draughtsmanship were greatly appreciated by the judges. Afterwards, Alexander Koch later published three of the competition entries as separate portfolios, including the one by Mackintosh. Through Koch's various magazines, they were publicized across Europe and even in the United States. This publicity helped establish Mackintosh as a globally recognized architect, who pioneered a new kind of modernism.

Curators: Farhat Afzal, PhD student in architecture, College of DAAP, and Elizabeth Meyer, head librarian at DAAP Library.
Assisted by: Chunyu Ye, student worker at DAAP Library.
Photos by: Sam Yeganeht