Friday, 30 July 2010

Last Exit to Modernism.

Often, the buildings which are created to fulfill spiritual needs are at the cutting edge of architectural experimentation. The medieval cathedrals pushed the very limits of what it is possible to achieve with dressed stone and the pre-medieval basilicas, mosques and temples of the levant similarly created breathtaking precedents in design, building and placemaking for communities. Buildings which to our contemporary eyes now might seem traditional and rooted in the ages were, in their time, jarringly new.

In Scotland, we are lucky to be home to one of the most important modernist buildings which is part of this spiritual tradition in St Peter's Seminary at Cardross. This at-risk building is Category A listed and is thought by some to be Scotland's most important post WWII building.

In Aberdeen, while we have nothing quite of the calibre of St Peter's, we do have an important modernist building which fits quite neatly in this category. Happily, this building is in an excellent interior and exterior condition, and is at present subject to an 'upgrade' (we have qualms about the word in this context). Of particular note is the quality of the interior woodwork, the ironwork details on gates and porticos and the bronze roofing. The stained glass is of internationally-important quality.

If you have family in Aberdeen, sooner or later, you're regrettably likely to be visiting this location. And when you do, you're likely to be in no fit state or mood to appreciate the architectural quality of the complex. So, take the time to have a look now.

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