Resurrecting and redeveloping a recent religious ruin in Glasgow, Scotland

In the Gorbals area about 20 miles west of Glasgow, Scotland lies a modern ruin. St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross was finished in 1966 but only operated in its intended role for 14 years. Built only 50 years ago, by the 1990s it was already derelict.

in the mid-60s, newly-built flats overlook St Francis Church and Friary.

In the 36 years since its closure, it has fallen into disrepair, yet is generally regarded as one of the most important examples of Modernist architecture in Scotland.

Today, plans to breathe new life into the building are now close to being realized.

The concrete ghost is hidden in woods on the north side of the River Clyde – the shell of an ambitious 1960s modernist building which the Catholic Church had planned to use to train 100 novice priests.

Artists’ rendering of redevelopment by ERZ.

That didn’t work out very well, thanks in large part to the tectonic shifts in public support for the priesthood in recent decades.

Now, the Catholic Church has embarked on an ambitious redevelopment project designed to serve the surrounding neighborhood, contracting the Glasgow design firm, Gillespie, Kidd and Coia (GKC).

The building was originally designed by architects Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan at Gillespie, Kidd and Coia as a teaching college for priests, but closed in 1980.

2016 public event was sold out.

After its closure there were difficulties with upkeep and, although it was briefly repurposed as a drug rehabilitation center, it quickly fell victim to vandals and dilapidation.

Now on the occasion of its half-century, Historic Environment Scotland has published a volume telling its history.

St Peter’s, Cardross: Birth, Death and Renewal features hitherto unpublished historical and present-day images along with original plans.

Featured photo courtesy if NORD Architecture.

See BBC photo essay.

See related book review by Rupert Beckersteth in The Architects Journal.

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