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International competition launched for Preston bus station

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The RIBA’s competition office has begun an international search for a team to create a new youth centre in Preston’s grade II-listed Brutalist bus station

Contest backers, Lancashire County Council and Preston Youth Zone, are looking for an architect-led, multi-disciplinary design team to mastermind ‘ambitious proposals’ to transform the 1969 neo-Corbusian concrete building into a ‘vibrant place’ for young people.

Around £13 million will be pumped into revamping the iconic BDP-designed bus station to make it ‘more appealing to passengers’ as well as becoming home to the new Preston Youth Zone Plus.

The threat of demolition had been hanging over the bus station for nearly a decade. But in late 2013 Ed Vaizey listed the popular bus station, which had been voted BDP’s second best building in the practice’s history (AJ 23.09.14)

The landmark was due to be pulled down to make way for the £700 million, Lend Lease-backed Tithebarn shopping scheme. However, that development collapsed in 2011 and, despite calls from the likes of Richard Rogers to save the bus station from demolition (AJ 31.05.13), its fate has remained in doubt.

The proposed new youth centre will occupy around half of the space on the Holiday Inn side of the building, with a separate sports hall built on the apron outside. The brief also demands outdoor pitches, a climbing wall, fitness suite and areas for music, dance, arts and crafts.

Bidders will be asked to submit schemes anonymously, in digital format only. The organisers will ask five teams to work up their designs, with each shortlisted designer given an honorarium of £6,000. 

County Councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of the County Council said: ‘We want to see high-quality ideas coming forward for the bus station, whether they’re from here in Lancashire or from elsewhere.

‘It is important that we protect the integrity of this listed building, while creating an exciting new facility for generations of our young people.’

Hugh Broughton, contest judge and RIBA Adviser, added: ‘This competition provides an inspiring opportunity to bring creativity and vision to a truly significant listed building in ways which will be engaging and entirely relevant to the people of Preston.’

For further details and how to enter please visit www.ribacompetitions.com/preston  

The deadline for first stage entries is 21 April 2015 (2pm).

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Delighted to hear it will be a Design Contest - and the choice will be on the quality of design not on financial or other such criteria!
    Expand use of Design Contets and view new Design Contest Guidance published here http://www.projectcompass.co.uk/index.php?page=compass&sub=compguide

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  • Try the fantastic short movie '56000 - A Film about Preston Bus Station' by Andrew Wilson & Paul Adams https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPVSV02Pz7c

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  • Hi quality ideas for £6k....I despair.

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