A Glasgow property described as “one of the UK’s greatest modernist buildings” is further along a road to being resuscitated, thanks to plans by public arts charity NVA.
The locally based organisation recently concluded missives on St Peter’s Seminary and Kilmahew Woodlands, which was designed in the 1960’s by revered architects of the period Gillespie, Kidd and Coia.
They are seeking to consolidate and partially restore this highly contested site on the banks of the Firth of Clyde, gradually bringing its internal spaces back to life, and reviving the 140 acre woodlands, which is hope to in turn redefine the nature of public rural space in Scotland through an extensive artist-led programme.
The conclusion of missives between NVA and the property’s owners, the Archdiocese of Glasgow, marks the beginning of a two-year fundraising plan to raise the £10 million needed to enable the rejuvenation.
St Peter’s resuscitation, which is being viewed as an integrated artwork to be accessed on foot, will see structural stabilisation with chosen interior spaces being brought back into mixed cultural and educational use within a powerful natural setting.
NVA is currently developing a “masterplan for the estate” with the support of a grant from Creative Scotland. To be completed this summer, it involves multiple conversations being held with the Scottish government, national bodies, regional groups and local partners.
Angus Farquhar, NVA Creative Director explained: ‘The opportunity to purchase Kilmahew/St Peter’s concludes years of speculation about the seminary buildings and marks the beginning of a new future for the site and the many people for whom it has significance.
“We envisage the first permanent artist-led space of its type in the UK. A new form of generative public art that develops work from a long term creative dialogue with the users and radically accepts the value of the building in its current form expanding an ’unfinished’ narrative that will change over time.”
At La Biennale di Venezia's 2010 International Architecture Exhibition, NVA presented a series of events focussing on the status and importance of St Peter's Seminary within the history of 20th century architecture. There have been a number of failed attempts to find a planned solution for the former estate, many of which have proposed commercial developments.
Andrew Dixon, chief executive of Creative Scotland, said: “This is a visionary and confidently ambitious project based on a site of international significance. It offers the potential to provide a place for artists to work in an iconic landscape and to provide a sustainable new attraction for Scotland.”
Ronnie Convery of Archdiocese Glasgow added: “The NVA proposal represents the best solution for the site, allowing the acclaimed building to be consolidated and partly restored to the benefit of the local community. The Archdiocese is delighted that after many decades a realistic solution appears to be available.”