The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Scotland’s best post war building now on the World Monuments Fund watch list for most endangered buildings worldwide

St Peter’s Seminary in Cardross has been placed on the international watch list of  the top 100 most endangered buildings worldwide. This is a response to nomination by the C20Society which is concerned by  the continued appalling  neglect of this masterpiece of C20th design –the RIBA Medal winning building is in a shocking state of disrepair and continues to deteriorate by the day   Other buildings alongside St Peter’s on the list include  downtown New Orleans, the cultural heritage sites of Iraq, and Taliban attacked Buddhist remains in Afghanistan.

St Peter’s Seminary was built from 1962-68 by the architects Isi Metzstein, Andy MacMillan and John Cowell of Gillespie Kidd & Coia as a training college for Catholic priests. The buildings are highly sculptural and while the forms of the building have clear parallels with the architecture of Le Corbusier in particular, it is as a monument of Scottish modernism that St. Peter’s is considered of international architectural significance. St Peter’s has been critically acclaimed since its completion and is now Category A listed. The building was closed as a seminary in 1980 and  had various other uses throughout the 1980s. It is now empty and continues to be repeatedly vandalized. It is owned by the Archdiocese of Glasgow.

What next?
The future is not all bleak for St Peters, and this listing will focus world wide attention at a point when a solution may be at hand.  Historic Scotland is currently funding a study to look at potential future uses for the building.   It is hoped that this will be published imminently and that it will lead to an imaginative solution for re-use. Pevious proposals have only considered consolidation of parts of the building as a ruin- something that C20 Society and other preservation bodies have campaigned strongly against.

Note for Editors:

The Twentieth Century Society is a membership organization which campaigns for the conservation of the best of C20th architecture. It was founded in 1976 as the Thirties Society and is now recognized by government and has a statutory role in the planning process. The C20th Century Society was instrumental in securing the reuse of Bankside Power Station (Giles Gilbert Scott -1932) as Tate Modern, and is currently campaigning for the National Sports Centre at Crystal Palace (1960-4), the Commonwealth Institute (1960-2) the Guinness Brewery 1933-5) and a Cold War bunker in suburban Cambridge (early 1950s).
St Peter’s Seminary is on the Twentieth Century Society register of Buildings at Risk please see our website for more information on the case:

The World Monuments Fund is a private charitable organisation dedicated to the preservation of the world’s exceptional artistic, historical and cultural monuments. Inclusion on the list is an important wake-up call to the threatened cultural heritage sites within a world-wide context and acts as a pathway to much-needed funding. This year’s watch list highlighted in particular the threat to Twentieth Century architecture which continues to be misunderstood and underappreciated and at high risk of demolition because of this. Nine buildings of this most recent past have been added to the list and St Peter’s is the only example within the UK.

The study funded by Historic Scotland is being prepared by Avanti Architects for Historic Scotland, Argyle &Bute Council and the Archdiocese of Glasgow.  It has cost over £70,000.

For more information please contact:

Eva Branscome
The Twentieth Century Society
Tel: 020 7250 3857 and 07 949 238 638
Fax: 0207251 8985