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- Category: A
- Date Added: 05/10/2004
- Local Authority: Fife
- Planning Authority: Fife
- Parish: Kinglassie
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NO 26968 916
- Coordinates: 326968, 700916
Wheeler & Sproson, 1958-62. Single storey with clerestory centrally planned church. Harled with wide timber band above and stained glass clerestory now obscured by external corrugated plastic. Lower projecting sections harled. Gabled elevations. Attached hall to NW. Distinctive tall triangular bell tower.
S (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: gabled elevation with timber band and corrugated plastic (obscuring stained glass) to upper level. Lower projecting blind section with windows in re-entrant angle with central advanced entrance with central recessed 2-leaf timber door with narrow glazed red inserts. Datestone to left with carved Celtic cross and date, "4th June 1960". Additional projecting simple flat roofed canopy with very slender supports provides shelter. Recessed lower single storey wing to left provides access to large hall set at right angles to NW with asymmetrically pitched roof.
INTERIOR: timber and brick. Mondrian-inspired Belgian stained glass clerestory. Aluminium roof. En suite timber font, lectern and communion table. Brick and timber pulpit. 51x8ft Alberto Morocco mural of The Way of the Cross. Timber pews.
BELL TOWER: 6-stage steel triangular 70ft bell tower with slatted vertical panels to S elevation.
Statement of Special Interest
Ecclesiastical building in use as such. An influential and liturgically-experimental centrally designed church which took its model from Burntisland Parish Church. Listed for its contribution to eeclesiological change, the quality of its stained glass and mural.
Wheeler & Sproson were commissioned in December 1958 to design a church, parochial centre and manse. The foundation stone was laid by the Earl of Wemyss on 4th June 1960 and the church was dedicated on the 14th April 1961.
St Columba's was intended to be the largest of three churches planned by the Church of Scotland for the New Town of Glenrothes and it was Wheeler & Sproson's first church commission. The building was subject to a very tight budget (initially set at £34,000) and building schedule (40 weeks). Wheeler & Sproson chose to open up the design process to include those who would use the building and they took advice from the theologian Professor James Whyte of St Andrews University. Professor Whyte questioned the liturgical requirements and favoured a return to 1st principles of traditional Scottish reformed worship of the early post-Reformation period. The centrally planned 1592 church at Burntisland was taken as a model (see separate listing).
Wheeler suggested Alberto Morrocco for the impressive large mural, 'The Way of the Cross', which was completed in 1962.
The manse was demolished in the late 20th century to make way for the car park which is now to the N. The church and hall have suffered structural problems for some time and the hall is currently (2004) undergoing extensive refurbishment.
John Gifford, THE BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND - FIFE (1988) p232. ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE XII - THE JOURNAL OF THE ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE SOCIETY OF SCOTLAND, Diane Watters, ST COLUMBA'S, GLENROTHES: A POST-WAR DESIGN LABORATORY FOR REFORMED WORSHIP (2001) pp66-87.
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