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There’s still a few days left to catch a BBC Radio 4 programme The Concrete and the Divine exploring the church architecture of Isi Metzstein and Andrew MacMillan, the innovative partners of renowned Glasgow firm Gillespie Kidd & Coia during the second part of the 20th century.

Andy MacMillan (left) and broadcaster Jonathan Glancey examining Gillespie, Kidd & Coia architectural drawings in our office

Andy MacMillan (left) and broadcaster Jonathan Glancey examining Gillespie, Kidd & Coia architectural drawings in our office

In the programme we hear architectural historian and broadcaster Jonathan Glancey interview Andy MacMillan at the sites of some of his most recognisable buildings, and also here in the Archives and Collections Centre at Glasgow School of Art, where the pair swilled whisky as they pored over some of the many architectural drawings and plans that feature in the Gillespie, Kidd & Coia Archive – at a safe distance from the material, of course.

St Peter's Seminary, Cardross

St Peter’s Seminary, Cardross

Isi Metzstein and Andrew MacMillan seized on the momentary experimentalism of the Catholic Church after World War II to revolutionise church design. This was a brave new world and the Catholic Church wanted their places of worship to meet the needs of a new era. In a culture never quite comfortable with the high modern influences of Europe and America, Metzstein and MacMillan drew on the ideas of Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright with unparalleled freedom. While most of their churches are still in use, their masterpiece St Peter’s Seminary at Cardross, which stood out like a spaceship in the modest construction yards of British architecture, is a ghost space now, abandoned in 1980 just 14 years after completion.

As we mentioned in a previous post, a selection of material from the Gillespie, Kidd & Coia archive is currently on display alongside GSA Library holdings at the entrance to GSA Library.

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme here.

Click here for more information about the Gillespie, Kidd & Coia Archive.