Lottery cash to save St Peter's Seminary in Cardross
- 5 December 2013
- From the section Glasgow & West Scotland
An arts charity has been given £565,000 to help save a derelict building in Argyll which is considered by some as a masterpiece of modernist architecture.
The Heritage Lottery Fund award will allow NVA to develop plans to restore St Peter's Seminary in Cardross.
The A-listed building was designed and built in the 1960s as a training college for priests but it has not been used since the 1980s and is now a ruin.
NVA needs to raise another £7.5m in funding to finish the project.
The public arts charity hopes to launch a public fundraising campaign next year to raise £3.5m.
The £565,000 granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund should lead to a second stage submission for £3m in 2015.
NVA aims to partially restore parts of the seminary, including the chapel, and maintain the rest of the site as a modern ruin which can be visited.
Angus Farquhar, creative director of NVA, said the Heritage Lottery Funding cash was "a pivotal moment" for the project.
He said: "The seminary building is held in high regard throughout the world. It has now been given the chance of a second life after 25 years of decline.
"Now, nearly 50 years on from the day it opened, we witness the first steps in a new and radical form of regeneration; one that accepts loss and ruination as part of the site history and sets out a mission to imaginatively re-use a great late modernist structure and in so doing, reflect the same social dynamism and ambition with which it was conceived."
St Peter's Seminary was designed by Glasgow architects Gillespie, Kidd and Coia.
The Roman Catholic seminary, which belonged to the Archdiocese of Glasgow, was completed and consecrated in 1966.
The distinctive zig-zag design and concrete appearance soon brought architectural recognition to the site.
However, as numbers entering the religious life fell and with high maintenance costs, the decision was taken to close the college.
In 1980 the seminary was deconsecrated and fell into a state of disrepair.
The building was Category A listed by Historic Scotland in 1992.
The World Monuments Fund, which works to preserve endangered cultural landmarks, added St Peter's College to its register in June 2007.
Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: "St Peters Seminary is a masterpiece of Scottish modern architecture but after decades of neglect its condition is perilous.
"The only way we can hope to save this commanding structure is if organisations that can help work together to identify a viable future.
"We hope that at some time in the future people will be able to explore, learn from and enjoy the layers of history and heritage that lie within this unique building and the estate surrounding it."
Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop added: "The former seminary at St Peter's is one of Scotland's most important modern 20th century buildings.
"The project would at last see the buildings and their wonderful landscape setting conserved and enhanced for the benefit of the community."