After The Lights Go Down

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Yesterday, we walked to St. Peters Seminary, a ‘modern building of world architectural significance’ on the world monument funds 100 most endangered important buildings list. It’s easy to see why. This post is a love letter to this magical place.

It began life as a place to teach student Roman Catholic priests in the 60s, & failed when less & less people wanted to do that. It’s been a drug rehabilitation centre & arts venue. All manner of artistic funding fires have plagued this place, it’s remote, has drainage problems & nobody seems to be able to make it make sense but man alive, what a spectacle it is. It does make no sense, a sensual clash of a building, angles that don’t line up, broken things lie side by side with rot in this beautiful vision of a place. It feels neglected & precious all at once. It’s A listed & decrepit, wrenches the minds eye in all directions. Isi Metzstein, who designed it, was sent to Clydebank by his mother after his school was destroyed at Kristallnacht. St. Peter’s Seminary is cognitive dissonance that you can walk around inside, weighty with age & heavy with history, but you can’t help but look every direction at once, open mouthed, afraid to miss anything.

Today, it’s full of beautiful graffiti. An artist was painting while I was there. No pictures yet, because graffiti artists never appreciate that, but I intend to document new works as they appear. You have to be a little careful. It’s not exactly safe. It’s full of folks who maybe aren’t there to take photos and document the stunning architecture & artwork. I came out covered in anti-vandal paint from the fences. Watch your back.

It seems to buzz with potential. A new company, the Kilmahew Education Trust, was handed the keys to the place by the archdiocese in July 2020. I hope they can do something with it, give it the status it deserves, this unique & important place.

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