Join NVA on Thursday 8 December 2016 to celebrate the launch of a new publication which tells the full story of the commissioning, decline and resuscitation of St Peter's Seminary for the first time. The event will commence with a drinks reception followed by a talk by the book's two authors: NVA's creative director Angus Farquhar and architectural historian Diane Watters.
Thursday 8 December, 6.30pm - 8.30pm
Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre
38 East Clyde Street, Helensburgh, G84 7PG
About the Book
Produced by Historic Environment Scotland in partnership with NVA and Glasgow School of Art, St Peter's, Cardross: Birth, Death and Renewal traces the history of one of Scotland's most celebrated - and most troubled - buildings, from its inception in the 1960s to its astonishing renewal in 2016 as the stage for NVA's Hinterland.
The ruin of St Peter’s Seminary has sat 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 structure, 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, Isi Metzstein, 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, the building is being renewed as a cultural space through the work of public art 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 church-building. 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 Seminary: an exploration of how one of Scotland’s most singular buildings became one of its most troubled – and most celebrated.
Across 54 pages of stunning imagery of St Peter’s and the globally publicised Hinterland event, Angus Farquhar recounts how his independent arts organisation NVA came to play the key role in the renewal of St Peter's and articulates the vision of its future as a platform for public art, debate and the generation of new thinking.
St Peter’s, Cardross: Birth Death and Renewal is published on 30 November.
By Public Transport
The closest train station to the Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre is Helensburgh Central, which is approximately a 2 minute walk from the venue. A train service runs from Glasgow Queen Street and Edinburgh Waverly station to Helensburgh Central. Please check the ScotRail website for up to date timetables and travel information at www.scotrail.co.uk
First Bus operates a bus service from Glasgow to Helensburgh - service 1B. To check up to date bus timetables please visit www.firstgroup.com.
The nearest car park is the Pier Car Park, West Clyde Street, Helensburgh, G84 8SQ – a 4 minute walk from the Civic Centre. Please be aware of charges and restrictions.