The slow death of modernism


“Soon to be picturesque ruins” was a slogan the Situationists used to enjoy posting on Parisian buildings but their rebuke to architectural hubris can be applied anywhere. St Peter’s College seminary building at Cardross near Glasgow was an example of post-Le Corbusier concrete construction which drew praise for its clean modernity in the 1960s. Today it brings only photographers and graffiti kids to its dereliction. Brian Dillon notes that the seminary

resembles nothing so much as the desolate and sentient “zone” in Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 film Stalker: a place where snow falls slowly upon vacant altars, where stagnant pools are so full of rot that they look horribly alive even at the edge of winter, where a startlingly tame robin will perch on your head as you step delicately over the rubble. (More.)

Yes indeed, and Flickr is full of striking examples like these. Someone ought to take advantage of what Dillon calls the seminary’s “futuristic rot” and use the place as a film set before the decay becomes too hazardous or the building is demolished altogether.


Previously on { feuilleton }
The ruins of Detroit
Ephemeral architecture
The temples of Angkor
St Pancras in Spheroview
• The Stalker meme

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