Join architectural historian Diane Watters and NVA’s Creative Director Angus Farquhar to celebrate the publication of this landmark book on St Peter’s College, telling its story from its inception in the 1960s to its astonishing renewal in 2016 as the stage for the NVA’s Hinterland.
The ruin of St Peter’s College has sat on a hilltop above the village of Cardross for more than three decades. Over that time, with altars crumbling, graffiti snaking across its walls and nature reclaiming its concrete, it has gained a mythical, cult-like status among architects, preservationists and artists.
St Peter’s only fulfilled its original role as a seminary for 14 years, from 1966 to 1979. As its uncompromising design gave way to prolonged construction and problematic upkeep, the Catholic Church reassessed the role of seminaries, resolving to embed trainee priests not in seclusion, but in communities. Although briefly repurposed as a drug rehabilitation centre, the building was soon abandoned to decay and vandalism. Ever since, people have argued and puzzled over the future and importance of St Peter’s.
It has been called both Scotland’s best and worst twentieth century building, and was category A listed in 1992. One of its architects suggested the idea of ‘everything being stripped away except the concrete itself – a purely romantic conception of the building as beautiful ruin’. And now in 2016, St Peter’s is renewed as a cultural space through the work of the arts organisation NVA.
In this landmark book, Diane Watters looks at the history of a structure that emerged out of an innovative phase of postwar Catholic churchbuilding. She traces the story of an architectural failure which morphed into a tragic modernist myth. This is a historian’s account of the real story of St Peter’s College: an exploration of how one of Scotland’s most singular buildings became one its most troubled – and most celebrated.
Across 54 pages of imagery of St Peter’s and the globally publicised Hinterland event, Angus Farquhar recounts how his independent arts organisation came to play the key role in the renewal of St Peter’s.
About the Authors
Diane M Watters is an architectural historian at HES and teaches at the University of Edinburgh. A specialist in 19th and 20th century architecture and conservation in Scotland, she has undertaken a succession of research based publications and is currently researching the history of Edinburgh’s school architecture. Angus Farquhar has been Creative Director of Glasgow based NVA – one of the UK’s most noted independent public arts organisations – since its inception in 1992.
For more information or if you would like a signed copy because you can't make it to the event, please contact Ann Landmann on 0131 622 8222 or firstname.lastname@example.org