Preston's once under-threat Brutalist bus station gets award for 'sensitive' redesign

Preston Bus station was once under threat of demolition and often maligned for its Brutalist design.

By Nicola Adam
Friday, 11th March 2022, 3:45 pm

But now the ‘sensitive’ redesign of the Grade 11-listed building has scooped a Special Award from The Civic Trust for the reuse and adaptation of the building – the latest in a series of accolades.

A comprehensive redevelopment of the project, which ran from 2015 to 2018, included the creation of a new public space, relocation of the coach station, renovations to the building, changes to the concourse to create new waiting areas and relocation of bus stands.

Architects for the Lancashire County Council-owned bus station redevelopment work were London-based John Puttick Associates and Preston-based Cassidy+Ashton.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Preston Bus Station

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "This improvement plan is the first step into delivering on the National Bus Strategy, Bus Back Better, and will pave the way for improvement measures that will, over time, make public transport the preferred mode of choice in Lancashire."

Built in the Brutalist architectural style between 1968 and 1969, Preston Bus Station was originally designed by Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson of Building Design Partnership with E. H. Stazicker, and engineered by Ove Arup and Partners.

For many years the future of the building was in doubt due to the investment required to bring the bus station up to modern standards. This changed in 2014 when its owners, Preston City Council, approved a deal for Lancashire County Council to take ownership of the building.

The redevelopment project completely rejuvenated the building, which remained operational throughout construction.

Numerous accolades have followed since its completion, including several awards from RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Architect John Puttick, said: "This latest award is especially pleasing, as it recognises projects that would have been left to decay or be demolished and which have make a positive contribution to the communities they serve.

The redevelopment of Preston Bus Station included a renovation of the concourse with new lighting, seating and changes to the bus stands. A new external coach station was created in the former taxi rank at the south end of the building, near the Guild Hall.

A new public space was created on the former bus apron with new benches, grassed areas and trees, new lighting and signage. The aim was to increase the connection between the Grade II-Listed building and the city centre.

Work also took place on the car park levels including repairs to the concrete, improved lighting, new security cameras, and repairs and improvements to the ramps to make the car park levels more welcoming and to encourage people to park there.