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Architect sought for scaled-down St Peter’s Seminary rescue

NVA is seeking an architect for a revised £8 million resurrection of St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross

The Glasgow-based arts charity is looking for an architect ‘highly skilled in the conservation of modernist buildings’ to partially restore the Gillespie, Kidd & Coia-designed landmark.

The appointed design team will develop rescue plans up to RIBA stage D for the 1966 Brutalist seminary which was abandoned three decades ago leaving an iconic ruin.

A Round 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund will then be made and, if successful the appointment will continue up to project completion.

The hunt for a new design team follows a reduction in funding available for the ambitious overhaul which aims to consolidate the Grade A-listed structure in a ‘semi-ruinous state’.

Avanti and ERZ landscape architects won outline planning last summer for £15 million plans to create a new education and public arts centre within the 57-hectare woodland site.

Still planned to start on site next summer, the project is now being scaled down in light of available funding.

A significant setback was a 75 per cent reduction in funding from Creative Scotland which awarded NVA £500,000 at the start of this year instead of the £2 million the charity requested.

Liz Davidson of NVA said: ‘The £15 million masterplan was [created] pre-full awareness of what funding would be possible. It was more about what NVA really wanted to do.’

She continued: ‘The task of the new team is to engineer the scheme so we get the same outputs without a fairly sizeable chunk of funding.’

Key elements of Avanti’s and ERZ’s scheme such as transforming the ruined glasshouses of a nearby 19th-century walled garden into a visitor centre and refurbishing St Peter’s sanctuary and refectory will be retained.

The restoration of the sanctuary and refectory will however now be broken down into more manageable separate phases.

Plans to tackle the teaching and convent blocks could also be shelved with the stand-alone structures indefinitely preserved as ruins or restored in later phases.

Applying teams should be joint led by an architect and landscape architect and include a quantity surveyor, structural engineer, services engineer, hydrologist, access consultant and CDM co-ordinator.

NVA will select a shortlist of five teams following the completion of pre-qualification questionnaires. Finalists will be invited to present detailed proposals at interview in response to the full project documentation.

The deadline for requests to participate is 10 June.



NVA creative director Angus Farquhar said: ‘Slowly but surely NVA are moving towards the imaginative resuscitation of this great building and landscape, the invaluable masterplanning by ERZ and Avanti has informed all the steps we are now taking. We have a manageable sum to raise to meet our phase one target and would invite all interested parties to support us in achieving one of the most important restoration schemes of this generation.’

Davidson added: The  successful project bid that was submitted to lottery funders by Avanti and ERZ on behalf of NVA in 2013 was targeted at a deliverable scheme of circa £8.5 million, not [£15 million] as quoted above and an energetic fundraising campaign to meet the shortfall is on schedule to close the shortfall by summer of 2015.  The current procurement exercise is a result of the project having achieved its maximum grant from HLF and having to meet strict EU regulations surrounding contracts of this value.’


How to apply

Visit the Public Contracts Scotland website to register interest in this notice and obtain additional information


Contact details

15 North Claremont Street
For the attention of: Liz Davidson
G3 7NR Glasgow
Telephone: +44 1413329911







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