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Preston Bus Station: Refurbishment, Preston, UK 2015-2018

“Throughout, it’s a meticulous and thoughtful renewal and remodelling where necessary. John Puttick Associates have demonstrated how civic buildings that the public has paid for deserve more than their usual fate of being turned into yet more shopping centres.” Jonathan Glancey, BBC Culture

Awards: RIBA National Award, RIBA North West Regional Award, RIBA North West Conservation Award, RTPI North West Heritage & Culture Award, IHBC North West Conservation Award.

Grade-II Listed Preston Bus Station is a landmark of Brutalist architecture. Designed by BDP and completed in 1969, the building remains the UK’s largest of its kind. Once threatened with demolition, the client sought to revive the building which was neglected. The brief included integrating the building with the city, addressing unsafe pedestrian access, creating a dedicated Coach Station and brightening the interior.

Our design reorients the building, prioritising pedestrians over vehicles. At an urban scale, the bus apron is now consolidated to the east creating a major public space to the west connected to the city centre. Inside, we have rearranged the building so new waiting areas face the public square.

The double-height concourse facade has been replaced with glazing and mullions matching the original profile. Timber-framed doors have been replaced with bronze anodised aluminium that is similar in tone while allowing automation. The façade is animated by a back-lit band and three-dimensional signage. Reinstating the powerful original design, we pared down the interior and restored original materials. Entry points are consolidated and an information hall established to give spatial coherence. We designed benches using Iroko reclaimed from the original construction. New elements are sympathetic to the utilitarian spirit of the 1960s design while clearly being of the present.

The building remained operational throughout construction and a limited budget required ingenuity from the whole team. The project is fundamentally concerned with rejuvenating this significant public building to contribute to the community.

Photographs by Gareth Gardner.

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