St Peter’s Seminary was designed by Gillespie, Kidd & Coia and opened in 1966 as a training college for Roman Catholic priests. Since 1987 the building has lain empty and become derelict. It is the most significant post war modern building in Scotland and is statutory listed Category A, entered on the Buildings at Risk Register and the World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites.
Avanti Architects were engaged by the Archdiocese of Glasgow to produce a definitive Conservation Assessment for the buildings. This work has led to Avanti being commissioned by NVA a not-for-profit arts charity to develop plans in collaboration with ERZ Landscape Architects and McGinlay Bell to partially restore, consolidate and adapt the buildings to create an education and public arts centre within the 57 hectare site.
Combining partial restoration, consolidation and new interventions, the proposals will create unique performance and exhibition spaces and establish a place for public art and new community uses and regenerate the surrounding landscaped estate. The project is part funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Scotland.
Rescue of a modernist masterpiece
“Like many of the artistic interventions it will one day house, the long-awaited restoration of St Peter’s Seminary is a provocative reinterpretation of the traditional rules of conservation and refurbishment. This is no simulated attempt to recreate the original, nor is it a commercial venture designed to make heritage financially self-sufficient. Instead, it subversively preserves and re-presents the power of destruction and romantic aura of ruination and thereby forges a new character that respects rather than removes the old. This is clearly not an appropriate response everywhere. But on a site charged with the haunted desolation of St Peter’s it is an imaginative attempt to create a truly extraordinary cultural venue, where the melancholy of decline is twinned with the energy of renewal.”
Location Cardross, UK
Photographer Aerial: Guthrie Aerial Photography Archive: Glasgow School of Art, Gillespie, Kidd and Coia Archives. Photos: Alaisdair Smith, courtesy of NVA