Preston Bus Station to pull out all the stops for 50th anniversary

One of Preston’s most iconic buildings celebrates half a century this year.

By Megan Titley
Monday, 18th March 2019, 2:37 pm
Updated Monday, 18th March 2019, 3:43 pm
Preston Bus Station. Copyright BDP
Preston Bus Station. Copyright BDP

Preston Bus Station, a space-age structure, was built the same year as the first moon landing - in 1969.

Now an array of summer events will mark its 50th anniversary culminating with an autumn exhibition at the Harris.

Tim Joel, deputy head of culture at Preston City Council said: "The bus station is a well-known Preston landmark, recognised internationally and a topic of many local people's conversations.

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Preston Bus Station. Copyright BDP

“With so much interest in this iconic building we look forward to marking its 50th birthday with an exciting programme of events, and an exhibition in the autumn for everyone to enjoy."

Constructed by Building Design Partnership, the structure saw Preston claim the largest bus station in Europe at the time.

Charles Quick, artist and co-curator of ‘In Certain Places’, is collaborating with the Harris to celebrate the building, an example of brutalist architecture.

The bus station’s strong architectural presence has inspired a wealth of artists, filmmakers and photographers, including multi-media artist Shezad Dawood and artist and musician Nathaniel Mellors.

Existing work will feature alongside new contemporary art commissions by art group LOW PROFILE and artist Keith Harrison to reveal aspects of the architecture on site and in the Harris.

LOW PROFILE will explore the role of people in the building's identity through a large-scale participatory artwork.

Keith Harrison, known for his sculptural and audio work, will be creating original pieces as part of the project.

Preston Bus Station was saved from demolition after a 13-year campaign initiated by proud Prestonians and is now Grade II listed.

It has been revitalised through an extensive restoration programme by the building owners, Lancashire County Council, and John Puttick Associates architects, which will be completed later this year.

A complementary events programme at Preston Bus Station and the Harris will include films, talks, tours and workshops to contextualise the social architecture of the building and its role in the city.

A bus-themed summer event on the Flag Market will include vintage buses and creative workshops in the Harris.