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St Peter’s Seminary

Johnny Tucker

Scottish modernist masterpiece and total ruin, St Peter's Seminary is looking for volunteers to work at the site next March as it forms the centerpiece of the country's 2016 Festival Architecture.

This also will mark the beginning of the long-term rehabilitation of the Gillespie Kidd, & Coia building, near Cardross, which is to become a new arts venue under the auspices of public Glasgow art charity NVA.

It will all kick off with a series of night-time events from 18 March (until 27 March). Audiences will walk through the atmospheric semi-ancient woodland to discover the ruined seminary buildings, subtly re-animated with light installations and a specially commissioned choral work by composer Rory Boyle performed by St Salvator's Chapel Choir from the University of St Andrews. Tickets are on sale for this now (www.hinterland.org).

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Hinterland. Credit: Visualisation: James Johnson, courtesy of NVA

NVA is now looking for volunteers for a wide variety of tasks, include woodland work, building and construction, event stewarding, social media, transport hub and box office assistance. You need to apply by 6 February to http://volunteer.nva.org.uk/

Situated some 30 minutes outside of Glasgow, the dramatic concrete building was originally opened fifty years ago as a Roman Catholic seminary. It was used by monks - and some nuns to serve the monks -- for 14 years before it was abandoned in 1980 and began to fall into disrepair.

In the later part of the noughties, Urban Splash worked with architect Gareth Hoskins on its possible redevelopment, but eventually pulled out. The Catholic church even took the dramatic step of smashing the alter in the building last year, to avoid people using it for nefarious activities and goth-type photoshoots.

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Hinterland. Credit: Visualisation: James Johnson, courtesy of NVA

The building has been off limits for many years, due not only to its dereliction but also the presence of asbestos, which has now been cleared. The building was given to NVA by the Catholic Church and £7m has been raised for partial restoration and its transformation into a new arts venue due to open in 2018.

A design team of design team of Avanti Architects, ERZ Landscape Architects and NORD Architecture is onboard for restoration that is likely to see architects and architecture fans making their own pilgrimage to the site.

Watch out for the March/April 2016 edition of Blueprint, where we'll bring the full story on the past, the present and finally now a future for this iconic and important structure.

Main image: Hinterland. Credit: Visualisation: James Johnson, courtesy of NVA

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