“Gillespie, Kidd & Coia: Architecture 1956 – 1987 [is] a truly great show, one that is dense enough to reward multiple visits and one that is likely to turn those with a passing interest in architecture to devotees of the art”
Jack Mottram, The Herald 7 January 2008
The exhibition was held at The Lighthouse from 2nd November 2007 until the 10th February 2008 and was the first major retrospective of the work of this distinguished architecture practice.
The exhibition was curated by Mark Baines from The Glasgow School of Art and was designed by Collective Architecture collaborating with artist Toby Paterson. The Graphic Design, 3d Animations and Portraits film were by ISO. The exhibition featured two films by Saul Metzstein - "Slide-In" and "Lessons in Architecture".
Based in Glasgow, Gillespie, Kidd & Coia’s imaginative approach to architecture resulted in a wide range of exceptional buildings throughout Scotland and England. Although Gillespie, Kidd & Coia were formed in 1927, the period between 1956 and 1987 was particularly fertile. During this period, Andy MacMillan and Isi Metzstein were at the company’s creative helm, and it is their work which forms the subject of this exhibition.
Their first building was St. Paul’s Church, Glenrothes, Fife and the completion of this modest project heralded a new direction for Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, as its architects explored and brought an entirely original perspective to modern architecture. Over the next thirty years the firm enjoyed the loyal patronage of the Roman Catholic Church, building a series of churches and ecclesiastical buildings that are widely considered to be the practice’s finest work. Throughout this period, Gillespie, Kidd & Coia also completed housing, schools, hospitals and colleges, all associated with the socially inspired, urban renewal programmes of post-war Britain.
Much of the source material for this exhibition is drawn from the Gillespie, Kidd & Coia archive, which was gifted to the Glasgow School of Art in 2001. Using this rich source material, the exhibition – presented over two floors of The Lighthouse – begins by putting the architecture of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia in context and focusing on St. Paul’s Church, Glenrothes, before exploring a series of ideas inherent in the work. The lower gallery invites a more detailed study of 22 of the most significant buildings completed by the practice, including the views of people who still use the buildings today. Both levels feature specially commissioned films that allow the visitor to be a witness to dialogue between the designers of the buildings. Together, these projects demonstrate the enduring architectural legacy of Gillespie, Kidd & Coia, and this exhibition invites us to reconsider the importance of some of Britain’s finest post-war buildings.