New plans have emerged to resurrect Gillespie Kidd and Coia’s crumbling St Peter’s seminary at Cardross through a 20-year ‘Neues Museum-style’ redevelopment programme
Over the years a number of attempted redevelopments have been mooted but none have materialised and today the iconic 1966 Roman Catholic seminary, which was abandoned in the late 1980s, remains in a state of decay. The most recent project was drawn up by Gareth Hoskins Architects and Urban Splash.
The latest proposals are backed by public arts group NVA, which has landed Scottish government-backing for its ambitious ‘incremental’ plans.
The organisation wants to create an ‘intentional modernist ruin’, which it claims could be a UK first. After making the site safe, NVA then intends to commission architects and ultimately launch an international design competition.
According to Angus Farquhar, creative director of NVA, the aim of the programme is to create ‘an intellectual context in which to take forward the notion of partial restoration’. This could take a form similar to David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap Architects’ Stirling Prize-shortlisted Neues museum project in Berlin.
NVA intend to introduce art commissions and artist in residence programmes, setting up trusts to allow the local community to safeguard parts of the project in perpetuity.
Farquhar said: ‘The idea of turning it into flats or a hotel is banal. There has been over 10 different plans to redevelop it – all commercial – everyone has been defeated by a combination of the topography, the difficulty of the building and the inappropriateness of use.
‘[We] absolutely see further down the line an international design competition to bring parts of it back to life.’
NVA will showcase the project when it represents Scotland during the final weekend of the Venice biennale (20-21 November).
Filmmaker Murray Grigor’s 1972 film Space and Light about the seminary when it was in use will be screened simultaneously with his 2009 ‘shot-for-shot’ remake Space and Light Revisited (pictured).
Gareth Hoskins said: ‘We know NVA’s proposals for Cardross well and have been liaising and working with them over the past year, or so, to make sure their proposals for the wider site can work with our proposals for the longer term redevelopment of the buildings.’