I got a request from a couple who were getting married at Rennie Mackintosh’s House for an Art Lover to build a Lego version of this beautiful building. It’s been one I’d been wanting to build for a while, so it gave me a good excuse to have a go at it. Although originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald in 1901, it was not completed until 1996. Mackintosh entered it for a competition set by German design magazine “Zeitschrift Fur Innendekoration” to design an Art Lover’s House. The competition encouraged collaboration between a ‘modern’ architect and a decorative artist; which suited Mackintosh and MacDonald. Although widely praised, the design didn’t win the competition and it remained unbuilt until 1989, when Glasgow Engineer Graham Roxburgh had the idea to actually build Mackintosh’s masterpiece. After much detective work in interpreting the original design, Roxburgh’s team started constructing the House for an Art Lover in Bellahouston Park in 1990. Mackintosh’s original designs were interpreted and realised by John Kane and Graeme Robertson (up to 1990) under Andy MacMillan, It was opened to the public in 1996.
My original plan was for a small, framed vista in a square frame. This was quite a handsome piece but didn’t really provide the full impact of the building. There was only space for one arch and three windows across, which didn’t really show the unique drama of the building. The frame also restricted the model to four studs deep, which limited the features that could be included. But the smaller model allowed me to work out how to model the bowed, heavily mullioned windows. These are based on columns of 1×1 transparent bricks stood on a hinged plate. I also worked out how to build the tan coloured stone features that make the distinctive frontage. These involved upside-down structures ‘pinned’ to the frontage with ‘headlight’ pieces.
I decided to make a bigger model, so that I could get the whole balcony frontage and portray the scale and detail of the building more effectively. Building in a wider and deeper display case allowed me to add the shrubs on the balcony and to present the asymmetrical brilliance of the facade; including the main focal point and the two large arched ground floor windows.
The House for an Art Lover now offers a fabulous restaurant, exhibition space and a very popular wedding venue. My model was the centrepiece at a recent lego-themed wedding, and has proved popular with others who tied the knot there.
Get in touch if you have an idea for a model you’d like to see built.