The Invisible College
Kilmahew / St Peters
NVA are giving a new lease of life to one of Europe’s greatest modern buildings which has lain deteriorating for 25 years. An ambitious capital campaign is now underway to transform St Peter’s Seminary and the surrounding Kilmahew woodlands, situated by the Firth of Clyde, into The Invisible College.
Cast as a future field station, The Invisible College is an international learning network which will host a wide range of events, exhibitions and interventions in response to the signature buildings, productive landscape and extensive historic grounds.
2012 saw the first lively Open days on site, organised in partnership with Glasgow, Edinburgh and Strathclyde universities involving academics, local people, artists and a wide constituency of interested parties. The first vegetables and herbs were successfully grown by Cardross residents in the walled gardens. Capital fundraising is now fully underway, with a recent major award from Historic Scotland kick-starting the campaign.
For more in depth Information on the background concept and site development of The Invisible College, download our Invisible College and Site development background document (pdf 5.7MB).
We have acquired ‘conditional missives’ (the sole right to purchase for a fixed period) from current owners, the Archdiocese of Glasgow, and seek to raise £6 million over the next two years. A Masterplan (pdf 22.5MB) has been created, led by ERZ landscape architects and Avanti architects, setting out a 20 year vision for the partial restoration of the buildings and wider setting.
A Design Charette partnered by the Scottish Government Architecture and Place division has jointly agreed the capital programme. A planning application to Argyll and Bute Council is due for consideration during 2013.
2012 Research programme
This year’s research programme was built around three themed research workshops. Each workshop culminated in an open public talk which shared the research findings so far and had invited guest speakers relevant to the theme being explored.
Integral to the programme is the online community at www.theinvisiblecollege.org.uk, formed by written and visual research and reflections from each activity day and made freely available. There are detailed instructions on how to contribute to the online community in the Downloads section below.
PublicTalks in the first season of the Invisible College included:
Tilman Latz (landscape architect and co- creator of Duisberg Nord, Germany)
Tim Edensor (academic and writer on modern ruins)
Andy Wightman (writer, campaigner and researcher on issues of Land and Democracy)
Ed Hollis (Reader at Edinburgh College of Art)
Tim Dee (Nature Writer and BBC Radio Producer)
Caitlin DeSilvey (University of Exeter)
Six panelists, Angus Farquhar, Hayden Lorimer, Jane Rendell, Barnabas Calder, Rob Shields and Alan Pert, took part in a lively discussion titled Recycling Sites / Architectures at the Lighthouse.
Local dialogue, expertise and input is a cornerstone of The Invisible College. There are opportunities for local residents to get involved in our landscape or heritage groups including managing and expanding the Kilmahew Productive Garden.
Are you interested in gardening? Would you like to be involved with growing activities in a communal walled garden space? Are you interested in discovering more about the history of the Kilmahew Estate?
If so, download our volunteers opportunities (pdf 1.55MB) and fill in and return the form below.
Invisible College Sign Up Form (pdf 1.11MB)
First download and open the form.
Then, fill it in with the information as required
Your form contains an email submit button. After you have finished filling in your form with information, click this button to automatically return the information by email. You cannot save the form and return to it later, as all data will be lost and you’ll have to start again. Please note this method will only work if your email account is synched to your computer.
Alternatively, you can print and return the form by post (NVA’s address is at the bottom of the form), or scan your form and email it to: email@example.com
To Have and to Hold: Future of a Contested Landscape
In 2010 NVA curated To Have and to Hold at the 12th International Architectural Biennale in Venice. The discussions and conversations with international participants, formed the basis of a new publication, which launched at Edinburgh International Book Festival in 2011.
The book is available to buy on our website shop HERE.
How to turn and abandoned building into an ‘Invisible College’
by David pollock
31 Aug 2012
Watch a video of Angus Farquhar’s recent lecture at Glasgow School of Art HERE
Watch a short film by Cara Connolly documenting the first NVA open day at Kilmahew/St Peter’s (2010) HERE
Watch the film of the NVA curated debate on St Peter’s Seminary at the XIIth Venice Architectural Biennale 2010 HERE
Invisible College and Site development background (pdf 5.7MB).
Masterplan (pdf 22.5MB)