Scottish laird John Bute has called for public money to help save Gillespie Kidd & Coia’s derelict seminary in Cardross
The category A-listed St Peter’s Seminary, located in secluded woodland near Dunbarton, closed nearly 40 years ago and is now a derelict ruin.
In January the Archdiocese of Glasgow, which owns the seminary, described it as ‘a huge albatross around our neck’.
But Bute, who backed a previous bid to save the building, said he would commit funds from his charitable trust if the government would also step in.
He told the BBC: ‘People know this building all over the world. It is widely recognised as being one of Britain’s finest examples of Brutalist architecture.’
Scottish architect Alan Dunlop backed Bute’s intervention and said St Peters had the potential to be transformed into a Bauhaus-inspired centre.
‘Just how we do that is up for discussion and we hope to meet the culture secretary Fiona Hyslop soon to discuss. However, as 2019 is the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus – an institution that changed the course of architecture, art, manufacturing and design internationally – it could become a new Bauhaus, or Taigh Togail in Gaelic, where manufacturing could also be done, residential learning undertaken and apprenticeships that could help renovate the building started.
‘Its seclusion then would not be such a challenge to be overcome.’
In 2011, developer Urban Splash walked away from a Gareth Hoskins-designed transformation of the crumbling masterpiece.
Glasgow-based arts organisation NVA then stepped in, drawing up plans to turn the building into a cultural venue overseen by Avanti Architects and McGinlay Bell.
The Mount Stuart foundation, chaired by Bute, helped to fund the project but the charity later announced its plans to close, saying it had been unable to guarantee the building a ‘viable future’.
The former priest’s training centre, designed by Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan of Gillespie Kidd & Coia, opened in 1966 but was deconsecrated in 1980 and fell into ruin.
The building was given Category A listing by Historic Scotland in 1992.
1966 St Peter s Seminary c Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections
Source: Glasgow School of Art Archives and Collections