St. Peter’s Seminary

When the Archbishop of Glasgow commissioned a new seminary for St. Peter’s College in 1958, the Glasgow design firm of Gillespie, Kidd and Coia were given the brief – the result was a modernist Catholic teaching college built in reinforced concrete with lots of wood and glass. Opening in 1966, the next year it was awarded the prestigious Riba architecture award, but by 1980 it has closed – a victim of the decline in church membership.

The building now stands empty and decaying in the middle of a wood, outside the village of Cardross on the Firth of Clyde. Recently, it had a brief burst of notoriety as the location for a low-budget German porn movie – with the predictable Sun headline of “Porn Again Christians” 😉

The main building was lit on the lower levels by five light wells, looking uncannily like silos.

Cardross Seminary 1 (by Ben Cooper)

The three upper levels of the main building contained the individual accomodation cells along each side, with outside and inside balconies – privacy was minimal.

Cardross Seminary 29 (by Ben Cooper)

Despite all the concrete, the building is very light and open inside.

Cardross Seminary 20 (by Ben Cooper)

The main building is now the haunt of graffiti artists both good…

Cardross Seminary 36 (by Ben Cooper)

…and merely helpful.

Helpful warning (by Ben Cooper)

Attached to the main building is the library complex – mostly made of wood, it’s now in a perilous state.

Cardross Seminary 14 (by Ben Cooper)

Off to one side stands a second, smaller building, with two curved-roof lecture theatres (one now collapsed) and a smaller accomodation block for staff and visitors.

Cardross Seminary 30 (by Ben Cooper)

This building is much more enclosed, requiring a torch.

Too hot? (by Ben Cooper)

Back in the main building, some parts are brutal, almost bunkerlike.

Cardross Seminary 8 (by Ben Cooper)

Whereas others are much more elegant.

Curlicue (by Ben Cooper)

It’s the ever-changing graffiti that makes the place so much fun, though 😉

Pac Man (by Ben Cooper)

1 Response

  1. Am I to understand that there is to be an opening of St Peter’s Seminary in 2016, suggesting that wholesale refurbishment and rebuilding is likely to happen. Is thee atimescale for this operation?

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