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FIRST LOOK

Preston Bus Station renovation by John Puttick Associates revealed

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BDP’s celebrated Grade-II listed Brutalist building, once earmarked for demolition, has been brought back to life in a thorough refresh

The refurbishment of Preston Bus Station – which remained in operation throughout the building works – has been completed by John Puttick Associates.

Originally completed in 1969, the bus station was long earmarked for demolition in the £700 million Tithebarn regeneration scheme – a scheme BDP also worked on – but which was finally shelved in 2011. The bus station was subsequently listed in 2013, protecting it from demolition. 

This complete retrofit sees the interior pared down, stripping out later additions and returning features to their original material and colour palette. There has also been a change of emphasis: from prioritising vehicle access – as it was designed for in the 1960s – to favouring pedestrians.

So passengers will in future enter the building at ground level, using a new public square to the west of the station, formerly a bus park area, which will open in 2019. A new seating and waiting area will face this public square, while the east side of the building will be devoted to the bus gates.

At the core is an information centre, cafe, shops and other facilities including the bus company offices, while a standalone part of the station now serves long-distance coaches on a 24-hour basis.

Internally original materials and fittings have been restored wherever possible, including the original curved benches, clocks and rubber flooring by Pirelli which is still in place.

GGARDNER 9770

GGARDNER 9770

New elements have been designed to be in keeping with the spirit of the 1960s design. Signage is orange and black, reflecting that first used at the station, and the British Rail typeface once used throughout has been reintroduced.

Larger interventions – such as the new information and administrative area – have been detailed to be in the utilitarian spirit of the original building while clearly being contemporary.

The exterior has seen some changes. These include the total replacement of the concourse-level glazing but using mullions of the same profile to maintain the original aesthetic. The timber-framed doors on the ground-floor façade have also been replaced with bronze-coloured anodised aluminium-framed doors, similar in tone to the wood, but allowing for automation.

The façade is animated by a continuous back-lit horizontal band internally and new three-dimensional external signage.

The architects worked closely with the Twentieth Century Society to determine the approach to the restoration, with the overarching objectives of ensuring the Bus Station remained fit to service 10,000 departures per week, preserving its landmark status  – and providing an uplifting experience for passengers. 

Next year will see the completion of the adjacent new build 2,600m² Youth Zone, also by John Puttick Associates. 

Architect’s view

It has been a privilege to work on a project that celebrates passenger experience in the way Preston Bus Station did when it opened. Its scale and monumentality are well known but inside the building one appreciates the way it welcomed people. Our goal has been to bring back the clarity of movement achieved in the original design, as well as the sensitive details which bring a human scale to the building. These qualities are tangible even when the station is at its busiest, making it a dignified place to be.

John Puttick, John Puttick Associates

160404 bus station inside elev detail west door

160404 bus station inside elev detail west door

Project data

Start on site November 2016
Completion June 2018
Gross internal and external floor area 31,250m² (concourse: 4,250m²; car park: 27,000m²)
Form of contract Hybrid Traditional (with partnering)
Construction cost Undisclosed
Architect John Puttick Associates (concourse refurbishment)
Architect Cassidy & Ashton (car park & retail)
Client Lancashire City Council
Structural engineer EngineersHRW
M&E consultant Skelly & Couch
QS Lancashire County Council
Transport consultant AHR
Landscape consultant Lancashire County Council Highways Department & Planit-IE
Acoustic consultant Charcoalblue
Fire engineering & inclusive design Buro Happold
Planning consultant Cassidy & Ashton
Project manager Lancashire County Council
CDM coordinator Lancashire County Council
Approved building inspector Preston City Council
Main contractor Conlon Construction
CAD software used MicroStation, Rhino

See photos and drawings of Preston Bus Station in the AJ Buildings Library

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