I have been working on a text for a publication commissioned by NVA, as part of the dialogue surrounding their redevelopment of the St. Peter's seminary (see images above). The publication draws together discussions and writing coming out of NVA's presentation of the project at the XIIth International Architecture Exhibition at Venice Biennale. NVA were invited by the Scottish Government, in partnership with Creative Scotland and the British Council Scotland, to curate a distinctive Scottish presence at La Biennale di Venezia's 2010 International Architecture Exhibition. They presented public events responding to the themes of restoration and reuse of our build heritage, particularly on the potential restoration of St. Peter's Seminary near Cardross. The invitation to write a text (in relation to this intriguing context) has provided opportunity to explore a specifically propositional form of writing, which draws together a series of 'abstracts' as different 'ways in' or 'openings' for debating the ruin. Rather than conceiving the text as an essay, I have been exploring the possibility of proposing it as an event (whose details will be elaborated at some future point in time). My plan is to develop more work around some of these concerns in the future: an interest in artists' interventions in architecture or place at the cusp of it becoming ruin has been already tentatively considered within some recent writing (Reuben Henry and Karin Kihlberg's work in relation to the Birmingham Central Library, Sean Edwards interest in the Maelfa shopping centre, and Sophie Mellor's 'urban retreat' in the environs of Barrow-in-Furness.
On the Ruin’s Future: Keeping Things Open
A proposition: Located at and provoked by the site of the Grade A listed St Peter’s seminary, a modernist ruin in the heart of the Kilmahew Estate, On the Ruin’s Future: Keeping Things Open is conceived as a discursive event, bringing together different positions and perspectives to question and interrogate the potentiality—as well as the problematic—of the architectural ruin. This event explores the possibility of different openings (and notions of openness), to initiate and invite debate around the ruin and the proposed redevelopment of the St Peter’s site. Presentations will be situated in different geographical locations within St Peter’s (see map for location details); a peripatetic audience will engage with ideas simultaneously to a live encounter with the site. The event will begin as dawn breaks and continue as long as the light lasts and weather permits. Audience may come and go as they wish.
Proposed 'abstracts' include ➀ The Ruins Look Back; ➁ Being Left Open—Ruin as an Open Structure; ➂ Ruin—The Suspended Potentiality of Narrative Stalled; ⊗ Performing Ruin; ➃ No Longer and Not Yet; ➄ Becoming Cuckoo: How to Preoccupy Site; ➅ Twelve Categories: Classifying the Unclassified and Unclassifiable; ➆ Outside>Inside ➇ Beautiful Brutal: The Curious Lure of ‘Béton Brut’; ➈ The ‘She’ of Ruin; ➉ Open Poetics
To Have and To Hold launches at Edinburgh Book Festival 2011
In late November 2010 NVA curated “To Have and To Hold” at the 12th International Architectural Biennale in Venice. The discussions in Venice formed the basis of this new publication, which launches at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2011.
Creative Director Angus Farquhar will discuss NVA’s hopes for St Peter’s with the architectural historian Edward Hollis and the Glasgow-based architect Gordon Murray, all of whom have contributed to the book. “A Future for St Peter’s Seminary? Saving Scotland’s Masterpiece Of Modern Architecture”, takes place on 13th August, 7pm, RBS Corner Theatre in Charlotte Square Gardens, at the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town. Advanced copies of the book will be available to buy at the launch event while full distribution will be in September.