MacMillan’s work will continue to serve as an inspiration for architects
Writing as part of the Scottish contribution to this year’s Venice Biennale, Miles Glendinning suggested that the history of Scottish Modernism had been distorted by the recent lionisation of the work of Gillespie Kidd & Coia.
Certainly, it is true that the buildings produced by that office under the direction of Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein – in substantial part for the Roman Catholic church – represented a marginal phenomenon in relation to the local authority-driven urban transformation that Scotland experienced in the post-war era.
And yet, if they were outsiders in their own time, Metzstein and MacMillan’s work as architects and subsequently teachers has served as a central point of inspiration for many practitioners today – an achievement made clear by the numerous tributes paid to MacMillan on his death, in October, at the age of 85.
Happily, he lived long enough to hear of Avanti’s appointment to restore Gillespie Kidd & Coia’s masterpiece, St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross.
When it reopens in 2017, it is sure to expand the ranks of the practice’s many admirers still further.