St. Peter’s Seminary, Cardross/Scotland

There is no shortage of ancient ruins in Scotland – most of them medieval castles, ancient inns, old cathedral or churches.  This one, however, is a totally different kind of relic: not only is it a modern 20th century ruin, but it also is one of the rare examples of modernist architecture in Scotland, bearing uncanny resemblance to the creations of Le Corbuzier.  The ruin is also surprisingly not a castle or a cathedral, but a Seminary – something one would never guess looking at its brutalist industrial lines and heaps of concrete.

The building of St. Peter’s Seminary was commissioned by the Archbishop of Glasgow in 1958, and designed by architects Isi Metzstein and Andy MacMillan, who ran the firm of Gillespie, Kidd and Coia.

By the time St. Peter’s Seminary was completed in 1966, its function was obsolete.  The Roman Catholic Church had recently decided that priests should train in communities rather than the isolation of remote seminary colleges.  To add to the problem, church attendance in Scotland was declining, and young men were not as keen to enter the priesthood as before.  Designed to house and train a hundred would-be priests, St. Peter’s was left with a residency of only twenty-some students by the late seventies.  In 1980 the Seminary permanently closed its doors.

You can find some footage of the Seminary in its former glory days in the Murray Grigor’s 1972 film “Space and Light“:

“Space & Light” by Murray Grigor (1972)

and compare it almost frame by frame to today’s state in “Space & Light Revisited”:

“Space & Light Revisited” by Murray Grigor

Since then, abandonment, neglect, the elements, a sizable fire, and vandalism have taken their toll, reducing the seminary to a brutalist skeleton of its former self.

It is currently one of only 42 post-war buildings in Scotland listed at Category A, the highest level of protection of a building of “special architectural or historic interest”.

In 2019, the Roman Catholic Church, owner of the building, said it had been degraded by fire, rain and vandalism and described the building as a “ruin”.  As a Category A listed building, the Seminary could not be sold or demolished and the Archdiocese of Glasgow which had the responsibility to maintain, secure, and insure it, and that they could not sell it, give it away, or demolish it.  Apparently, the price for St. Peter’s Seminary restoration was too high, and in July 2020 it was transferred at no cost to the Kilmahew Education Trust who aimed to “develop a viable vision, with education at its core” for the site.  
Read more about it here.

St. Peter’s Seminary on Google Maps

Park Hotel, Rijeka/Croatia

Marked on Google Maps as Grivica Elementary School (something that did not quite match the extensive beach infrastructure) this building has a much longer and more interesting history.

Main entrance to the Hotel

Mostly known as Hotel Park (which is still commemorated by the name of the bus stop at this location), it was built in 1909 on the grounds of the former Riboli Villa as the first sanatorium (health resort) in the then Jugoslavia.

The clearest and bluest of waters by the hotel

The Pećine Sanatorium was envisioned as an institute for all operative and internal diseases and was equipped to the latest medical standard of the time – with modern medical devices, gymnastic equipment and an X-ray machine.  Therapeutic, healing baths were provided to the patients with a special water supply from the sea.  At the time it was not very affordable or accessible for the locals and was mainly used by foreigners.  In the middle of 1917, the sanatorium stopped working.

The entire property was bought by Josip Braun, a wood wholesaler in Sušak and majority shareholder in the sanatorium, and since 1918 the facility has been operating as a hotel-pension Sanatorij Pećine.  In 1935, Josip Braun was elected as a new member of the board and in 1936 changed the name of the sanatorium to Park Hotel and Swimming Pool Pećine.  In 1937 the building was upgraded and remodeled according to the designs of David Bunetta.

Being Jewish, Braun had to flee to America at the beginning of World War II, the hotel was closed after his escape, and the Germans were said to have built a bunker in the area directly next to the sea above the coastal grottoes.  During the war the hotel became the headquarters of the Italian, then the German, and finally the Partisan command.

In 1946 the hotel was reopened, already as Hotel Park, and once again became the center of local social life.  The hotel was in operation until 1991, which marked the beginning of the Homeland War (Croatian was for independence, which was part of Yugoslav Wars).  During the war it was the only hotel in Rijeka whose rooms were entirely intended for exiles.

The beach, restaurant and bar area of the hotel
View from the hotel

In 2001, the first private school in Rijeka, Grivica Elementary School, began operating there, but judging by the abandoned state of the property now, this page of its history did not last long.

Very little of the interior reminds of the hotel – you can see it was definitely a school

According to local rumors, the building and the territory were purchased by an Israeli investor not a long time ago, so there is hope that it can still be returned to its original glory.

Here are some old photos I found on the Internet: