Landscape architects ERZ will transform a rundown Victorian estate, castle and surrounding Kilmahew woodland near Glasgow, into a picturesque learning and public arts attraction.

ERZ's masterplan for the 133-acre Kilmahew Estate
ERZ's masterplan for the 133-acre Kilmahew Estate

Working with Scottish arts charity, NVA, the landscape architects have drafted a plan that would see land rejuvenation and building restoration carried out at St Peter’s Seminary and Kilmahew Estate.

If approved by Scottish authorities, the 20-year redevelopment scheme would involve restoring the 133-acre Kilmahew Estate, which has miles of buried trails, unseen waterfalls, bridges, and yews, the site’s Grade-A listed seminary buildings and surrounding gardens.

Walking trails, temporary cabins and camping facilities, and cycling paths are part of the proposed project. The NVA also plans to build ‘The Invisible College’ – an education centre to host seminars, research projects and debates, and use the surrounding land to grow food.

Rolf Roscher, ERZ director and landscape architect, said that the biggest challenge was creating a blueprint with both traditional and contemporary features.

“The whole site is in a lost state, so the design response was to look at the complexity and layering and figure out how to reinstate traditional buildings with new developments and landscapes,” he explained.

“We looked at how to deliver all the infrastructure needed to support the educational and tourist activities on site, and also considered how the site could accommodate ongoing change.”

The NVA, which has sole right to buy St Peter’s Seminary and Kilmahew Estate from its current owners, the Catholic Church, for a fixed period, hopes to raise £15m in the next two years to help finance the project.

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