St Peter's College, Cardross - 1966
The Seminary of St Peter's at Cardross accommodated 100 student-priests and was build adjacent to the existing Victorian Kilmahew House, which was converted to provide all necessary professorial accommodation. The new group of buildings was dominated by a stepped four storey block housing the Chapel and Refectory which were enfolded by a double range of bed-sitting rooms on the three upper floors. At right angles to the main block was another unit which incorporated four lecture rooms, a large library and the students' sitting and recreation spaces. This block was dramatically cantilevered over the existing retaining wall of the terrace. In addtion, there was a kitchen and servery, serving both the old and the new blocks and the small convent which completed the project.

The scheme owed its form to the desire to preserve the existing fine house and site in its least disturbed form and also to the intention of giving expression to the unity of the student-priest's life by integrating, Chapel, Refectory and students' rooms in one impressive composition. The existing site had a slope, which was exploited to provided a cloister under the Chapel and an entry into the courtyard formed by the new buildings and the old. An existing spring was utilized to forma a pool at the entrance.

To achieve the best relationship between the old and new buildings the materials employed internally and externally in the new blocks were restricted, with a strong emphasis on the use of exposed reinforced concrete, varnished and painted timber and plaster. The strongly modelled precast facing elements had an exposed aggregate specially chosen with the intention of harmonising with the mellowed stone wall of Kilmahew House. Heating was by warm air and hot water under floor panels.

Although the erection of the new buildings necessitated considerable site works and included the removal of some trees, it was the aim of the design, by careful preservation of existing features to maintain and possibly enhance the exceptionally impressive Victorian landscaping of the estate.

Since its completion St Peter's Seminary has been critically received and its status as an important example of modern architecture has grown over the years. The building was listed category B in 1971 and was elevated to category A in 1992.

The building, however, was never fully occupied, the result of falling numbers.

Present state/use:

Closed as seminary 1980, used as drug rehabilitation centre from 1983 until building finally abandoned in 1987, now derelict. Kilmahew House (John Burnet 1865-8) around which the GKC scheme was built, was demolished after a fire in 1995. In June 2007 St Peter's was placed on the World Monument Fund list of the 'World's 100 Most Endangered Sites' for 2008.

Contact:

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