Preston Bus Station

Preston Bus Station

Preston Bus Station

Lancashire, UK

2015 – 2019

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. With over 10,000 bus departures every week, it is an extremely busy public building and one of the centres of life in the city. The brief included integrating the building with its surroundings, addressing unsafe pedestrian access, creating a dedicated Coach Station, and brightening the interior.

Previously isolated by a sea of bus parking, 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.

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

The brutalist gem that is Ove Arup’s Preston Bus Station has been sympathetically renovated, right down to the route numbers.

Rowan Moore, The Observer

Film by Photography by Anderson

Photography by Gareth Gardner

Model photography by Tian Khee Siong