The Institute picks interesting stories and news items every week from the worlds of art, culture and social study and presents them in the blog. This week the stories have been chosen by Maria Pirkkalainen.
Vinyl strikes back
Good news for the UK’s music industry: 2014 marks a record-breaking year for vinyl sales. Over 1 million LP records have already been sold this year, making vinyl a 20 million pounds a year business. Just five years ago that number was 3 million.
An article in The Guardian remarks on how the vinyl sales have been accelerated in part by new British albums. Pink Floyd’s long-awaited The Endless River and AM by Arctic Monkeys have both been big sellers. Other local successes have been, for example, the new albums by Royal Blood and Oasis.
What is making the vinyl such a success story of the early 21st century? With online streaming becoming the most popular way of listening to music in the UK and CD sales steadily declining, vinyl is gaining new popularity with customers wanting to own an actual object, not just a dozen of MP3s. The article also points out how Record Store Day, held every April, has done wonders for boosting and promoting vinyl sales as well.
And this isn’t all. The numbers don’t even include the up-coming Christmas sales yet. The article speculates how the sales could actually go up to 1.2 million by the end of the year. That would mean a major increase from the 780.000 sold copies in 2013. It looks to be just a matter of time until vinyl breaks an even larger cut of the overall music market in the UK than just the quite modest 2 percent it has now.
From ruins to art and culture
Voted in 2005 as Scotland’s greatest post-WWII building by the architecture magazine Prospect, St. Peter’s Catholic Seminary has stood in the wildlands of Cardross ever since 1966. But for the past quarter of a century, as abandoned.
Originally designed in 1966 by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia as a part of the Brutalist architectural movement, the monumental seminary building initially closed its doors in the late 80s. However, news broke out in November for example in Scotland Herald and Dezeen that a full design team has been appointed to convert the ruins into a major venue for art and culture. To be more precise, the seminary building will be transformed to accommodate a 600-seat performance venue, exhibition galleries and teaching spaces. Scotland Herald adds how for the first five years it is hoped to become a base for artists, teachers, students and audiences.
According to the articles, the architectural firms included in the renovation are Avanti Architects, ERZ Landscape Architects and NORD Architecture. The budget of 7.3 million pounds will be acquired by Scottish cultural charity and environmental arts organisation NVA. The major sources of funding for the project include, for example, Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic Scotland, Creative Scotland and private donors. The entire site has been conditionally agreed to be donated for the public good by the Archdiocese of Glasgow in 2016. According to Scotland Herald, the original budget is still short of 1.8 million pounds and currently seeks additional funding.
An interesting remark in the article by Dezeen is that the plan isn’t just to restore the listed building. The initial idea is to build something new out of the abandoned seminary, while keeping its architectural structure and taking its ruined state as a major inspiration. The restoration is due to begin in 2015, with the building being formally reopened in the summer of 2017.
Without a doubt, this is one of the major architectural restoration news of the year in Scotland. It also fits well with the public’s newfound respect for the once deprived, abandoned and aggressively demolished Brutalist buildings. More about the new era of the Brutalism movement can be read from the Institute’s In the Media blog post from September 2014.