In March 2016, Hinterland will mark the official launch of Scotland’s Festival of Architecture with a night-time public art event at St Peter’s seminary, presenting a key highlight of the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
Almost 50 years to the day since the seminary opened, Glasgow based public art charity NVA present Hinterland, a world premiere and the inaugural event in the ambitious permanent scheme to reclaim the future of the world-renowned St Peter’s seminary, in Cardross, Argyll & Bute.
At night, audiences will walk through the atmospheric semi-ancient woodland to discover the ruined seminary buildings, subtly re-animated with monochromatic light installations and a specially commissioned choral work by composer Rory Boyle performed by St Salvator’s Chapel Choir from the University of St Andrews.
Hinterland is a creative collaboration between Angus Farquhar (director), James Johnson (designer), Rory Boyle (composer), University of St Andrews Music Centre and St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, Phil Supple (lighting director), NOVAK Collective (projection design), and from 85A art collective - Dav Bernard, Zephyr Liddell, Robbie Thomson & Pete Sach (installations)
The event opens on 18 March 2016 and runs to 27 March 2016.
Tickets go on sale 2 December 2015 on www.hinterland.org
As dusk falls to darkness amongst semi-ancient woodland on the Firth of Clyde, Hinterland invites audiences to experience one of Scotland’s most iconic 20th century buildings transformed using sound and light to symbolise its rise out of monumental ruination into a new creative life. In a historic moment, the wider public will discover the ruins of St Peter’s seminary for the first time, fifty years since the modernist masterpiece was built.
Hinterland will subtly re-animate the skeletal concrete superstructure with monochromatic light, projection and a specially commissioned choral work by composer Rory Boyle, performed by St Salvator’s Chapel Choir from the University of St Andrews.
As protagonists within a living sculpture the audience is able to move freely through the seminary’s main spaces, encountering the subtle integration of polyphony, projection mapping and light installations playing out on and around the surfaces of the degraded superstructure.
Hinterland is the name for both the inaugural event and the planned permanent cultural resource, presenting a public statement about the site’s future use as a national platform for progressive public art, looking towards 2018 when the partially restored buildings are fully opened.
The event follows an extensive programme of work to make the building safe for future use led by Reigart Contracts. This transition has revealed stunning architectural details that have been concealed beneath debris for the last 25 years.
Hinterland, NVA’s ambitious scheme to reclaim the future of the world-renowned St Peter’s seminary and its surrounding landscape represents the last chance to save what is widely recognised as Scotland’s and the UK’s most important modernist building. Designed and built by Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein of the renowned Gillespie, Kidd and Coia architectural practice, St Peter’s seminary was completed and consecrated in 1966 and went on to win MacMilland and Metzstein the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Gold Medal for architecture. However, after 30 years of decline the buildings are now registered as one of the World Monuments Fund’s most endangered cultural landmarks.
A dynamic design team comprising Avanti Architects, ERZ Landscape Architects and NORD Architecture has been appointed to take capital plans for Hinterland forward, adopting a ground-breaking approach to heritage restoration.
Combining partial restoration, consolidation of the existing ruin and new designs for a cafe and public hub, the scheme will create a 600-capacity events space, flexible indoor and outdoor teaching and performance spaces, a permanent exhibition, restored woodland paths and visitor facilities which are set to establish Hinterland as a national platform for public art, living heritage and knowledge exchange in the 21st century.
Angus Farquhar, Creative Director of NVA said, “Almost 50 years on from the day the seminary opened, we are witnessing the first positive steps towards a new purpose, one that accepts loss and ruination as part of the site’s history creating an evolving arts programme for local people, all of Scotland and visitors attracted to this iconic site from around the world.
“We are setting out to ensure that the imaginative re-use of this great late modernist structure reflects the same social dynamism and ambition with which it was conceived, based around a spirit of working progressively to improve what we can and imagining a better world. It is NVA’s intention to preserve a raw sense of otherness, excitement and revelation.
“Hinterland will offer everyone a chance to visit the Kilmahew/St Peter’s at a key moment in its evolution and it promises to be the must-see arts event of 2016 leading on to the delivery of an important new creative and heritage resource for progressive public art in Scotland and beyond… You want to be able to say that you were there at the start of what promises to be the most significant arts development for a generation.”
Neil Baxter, CEO Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) said, “The architectural significance of the former St Peter's Seminary must be measured in European terms. It is now on the brink of becoming a quite new type of visitor and a national cultural attraction. The impressive spaces and dramatic allure of its contrasting concrete geometries will be a remarkable setting for public art, music and theatre. Those who take up this offer and are among the first visitors to St Peter's new incarnation will have something to tell the grandkids! 2016 is going to be a very special celebration of Scotland’s fantastic architecture and we’re delighted to have ‘Hinterland’ as the first headline event of the Festival of Architecture.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said: “The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016 is a wonderful opportunity for Scotland to showcase its most unique and exciting buildings, projects and events to the world and Hinterland is a fantastic example of this. St Peter’s seminary is a modern building of world significance and NVA’s plans to bring it back to life through such an interesting and innovative project is truly inspirational. We have no doubt that the Hinterland event will be an important and distinctive highlight of the events programme in 2016, and I am looking very much to witnessing this modernist icon coming to life.”
Hinterland is produced by NVA on behalf of Kilmahew / St Peter’s Ltd and is the official launch event of the Festival of Architecture 2016 which is supported by Event Scotland and Creative Scotland. The event is a key highlight of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. Supported by Forestry Commission Scotland, Reigart Demolition and Argyll & Bute Council.
Near Helensburgh, Argyll & Bute, Scotland
18 – 27 March 2016
Tickets on sale from 2 December 2015 at www.hinterland.org
Hinterland visualisation by James Johnson, coutesy of NVA