Lights go out as Glasgow's Lighthouse closes
- Anna Millar
- 10 September 2009
Flagship architecture and design centre closes
As the Lighthouse enters administration, the future looks uncertain.
The Lighthouse remains open for visitors, following the sad news that the institution is now in administration. Sources close to the Lighthouse were keen for the public to keep showing their full support for the building until a decision has been made about its future.
The chair of the board at the Lighthouse, Eleanor McAllister OBE, said that she was 'heartbroken' at the decision last month and that the board had done 'everything possible'. She added that options were 'limited' due to the economic climate.
'When I was asked to chair the Lighthouse Trust Board, I had hopes we could find a way ahead after the significant losses incurred in mounting the critically successful, but expensive, Venice Biennale project, and the government decision not to fund a second Six Cities Design Festival.' said McAllister.
Since it opened in 1999, the Lighthouse Trust’s Mitchell Lane visitor centre has operated a programme of exhibitions, events and conferences, attracting an audience of 220,000 visitors and participants each year. The last year has seen them fall on hard times, as organisations cut back on their resources as they themselves faced economic difficulties. The Lighthouse reportedly owes around £300,000. Administrators are now in the building in a bid to determine a sustainable economic structure.
McAllister defended the Lighthouse's position, and offered hopes that the space would still be open to the public until a decision was made: 'No other gallery in Scotland has to generate such a high percentage of its income from commercial sources and the Lighthouse has been very successful at that in the past. However, the extra income we needed from rents, grants and conferences and events just did not materialise as businesses, organisations and charitable trusts cut back on their activities when the credit crunch hit and the recession deepened.
'The Board hopes that the administrator, working with ourselves, the City Council as owners of the Lighthouse building and the Government as the major funder, will be able to get a resolution that ensures the future of this early Mackintosh building, so important to Glasgow's architectural heritage.'
With the building's future still in doubt, Simon Farrell, chairman of the Design Business Association Scotland, said of the loss: 'From a professional and personal point of view I think this is very sad news. The Lighthouse has acted as a beacon for Scottish design and architecture over the past few years and it will be a real shame to see it go. I sincerely hope the board can find a way to keep the light shining.'