Gillespie Kidd & Coia’s ruined St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross has reopened to the public with a lightshow to mark the beginning of Scotland’s 2016 Festival of Architecture
It is the first time visitors have been allowed into the Grade A-listed landmark west of Glasgow for the first time since its closure more than 30 years ago.
Around 8,000 tickets were sold for the event – dubbed Hinterland – which was devised by NVA director Angus Farquhar and Scottish composer Rory Boyle.
The piece – which opened last Friday (18 March) and runs until Easter Sunday (27 March) – featured a choral installation performed by St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, trumpeter Bede Williams and percussionist Tom Lowe from the University of St Andrews.
NVA creative director Angus Farquhar commented: ‘The event has sold out and we have audiences coming from across the UK and Europe.
‘The subtle composition of lighting, projection and choral music beautifully echoes the site history and will give audiences a strong impression of its creative potential. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how people respond to it over the next ten days.’
Scotland’s culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘The event marks the start of the Festival of Architecture, a major part of 2016’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, and I can’t think of a better way to mark the year than by seeing one of Scotland’s architectural gems brought to life in such a stunning and creative collaborative performance.’
RIAS chief executive Neil Baxter added: ‘Bringing together an extraordinary, sculptural, modernist ruin, music and creative magic within a unique, historic woodland setting, Hinterland is a superb launch event for our year-long, Scotland wide, Festival of Architecture.
‘It also presents a vision of how Gillespie, Kidd and Coia’s long abandoned masterpiece might be reinvigorated to the benefit of the local community and wider Scotland. This sell-out is the first must-see highlight of this very special festival. It will endure long in the memory as a special moment.’
NVA will begin a £7.3 million restoration of the building – located in an ancient woodland near Cardross – this autumn.
The much-anticipated project will see the 50-year-old Grade A-listed Brutalist structure transformed into an international arts centre also named Hinterland.
Originally designed by Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein, the former seminary on a remote estate near Cardross fell into significant disrepair following its closure in 1984.
Drawn up by Avanti with NORD Architecture and ERZ Landscape Architects, the £7.3 million rescue project aims to partially restore the abandoned landmark.
The proposals include a 600-seat performing arts venue and a heritage exhibition alongside indoor and outdoor teaching spaces.
Organised by RIAS to mark its centenary, the festival of architecture will conclude with a lightshow in Dundee in November.
Key highlights of the festival include a touring ‘Scotstyle’ exhibition of the country’s top 100 buildings and ‘Adventures in Space’, an exploration of the architecture of sci-fi at The Lighthouse in Glasgow.