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Sunday, 1 July 2012

St Peter's Seminary, Cardross

Ever since I was a wee boy I've been fascinated with derelict buildings. There used to be an old mansion that could be seen from the country road leading to village I grew up in, and as children, my sister and I used to fantasize about what monsters we'd find living behind it's boarded up doors. There's something simultaneously inspirational and depressing about a grand building, fallen from grace.

It was this that first sprung to mind when my friend and talented artist Carrie Gooch, invited me along to a meeting on the renovation of the former St Peter's Seminary in Cardross, Scotland a few months ago. Having never been, but seen plenty of spooky photography, I was more than a little intrigued.

Before the meeting we decided to take a jaunt to the site itself to scope out the place and take some shots. Being inside was quite daunting. The most striking thing about the concrete jungle, purpose built as a seminary in the 1960s by famed architects Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, is the lack of any spirituality. The modernist structure feels cold, sterile and functional to me. Additionally, with the knowledge that it's only been a few decades since the building fell into disrepair, it's incredible how quickly it has degraded. Almost all internal wood as been burnt or rotted away, and the wildlife has begun to reclaim the territory.

Now on track to receive a £10m renovation, it's certainly worth looking into the project plans and checking out the Concrete Britain film, which pairs original footage with images of the building now.

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