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Preston Bus Station contest attracts international interest

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More than 125 practices from 16 different countries have already registered to take part in the competition to transform Preston Bus Station

The competition website, which launched two weeks ago, has had 8,000 unique visits from 80 different countries as far afield as Azerbaijan and Venezuela. 

The RIBA-run international competition is on the hunt for a team to create a new youth centre at the 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)

Jennifer Mein, the leader of Lancashire County Council, said: ‘We’re absolutely delighted at the strong level of interest in this competition, since it was launched less than a fortnight ago. We hope that this will lead to some outstanding plans coming forward to develop this iconic building. 

‘This is an exciting time and good news for Preston and Lancashire in general. We’re looking forward to seeing the ideas that come from our competition. It’s important that we protect the integrity of this listed building, while creating an exciting new facility for generations of our young people.’

Competition judge and RIBA adviser, Hugh Broughton, added: ‘This bold competition provides an exciting step in creating a bright future for this modernist masterpiece. We are really looking forward to seeing what innovative ideas designers can come up with to complement the daring and uplifting architecture of the existing bus station.’ 

Entrants have until 21 April to submit schemes for the popular competition.

Bidders will be asked to submit schemes anonymously, in digital format only. A shortlist of five teams will be drawn up and each will receive a £6,000 honorarium to work up designs for the much-loved building.  

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

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