Preston Bus Station

John Puttick Associates (masterplan, concourse refurb and youth zone), Cassidy + Ashton (car park and retail), Preston, 2018


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The upper floors are still in use as car parking space 

Gareth Gardner     Download Original

  • The upper floors are still in use as car parking space    
  • Iroko barriers that divided the space into pens for boarding buses have been removed and repurposed as benches     
  • A concrete ceiling spans the length of the structure    
  • Numbers are marked out in Rail Alphabet typeface    
  • The bus station was designed by BDP and completed in 1969    
  • The Brutalist space is Grade II-listed    
  • Salvaged timber lines the new information desk    
  • An exposed concrete building such as Preston Bus Station leaves little opportunity to conceal the services required by a modern transport hub    
  • The architect    
  • Detail of bench with concrete base    
  • Location plan    
  • Site plan    
  • Ground floor plan    
  • Section EE    
  • Section FF    
  • West elevation typical sliding door detail    
  • Internal elevations    
  • Before the refurbishment    
  • Another shot taken before the refurbishment    
  • Sliding door detail section    
  • Bench detail    

Preston Bus Station is a celebrated Grade II-listed Brutalist building designed by BDP and completed in 1969. Its refurbishment reinstates its powerful original design.

Saved from demolition in 2013 and since refurbished by London-based John Puttick Associates, the station was never shut during its delicate renovation.

Inside, the changes are again subtle and largely cosmetic. The removal of bus stops from the west side of the station exterior means the front half of the interior is now primarily for circulation and waiting areas. Iroko barriers that divided the space into pens for boarding buses have been removed and repurposed as benches atop concrete mounds, removing visual clutter and creating more space for passing passengers. Kiosks that had been floating in this waiting area have also been absorbed into the central spine of the structure to the same effect. 

Clearing these spaces has the added impact of revealing the generosity – even grandiosity – of the bus station’s foyers, which extend dramatically, thanks to the curtain wall and concrete ceiling that span the length of the structure.

New lighting design highlights these features with hidden LED uplights that illuminate the exposed concrete beams of the ceiling.

Crossing beneath the central spine and on to the back half of the structure, the main visible refurbishment has been to the bus stop doorways: sliding timber door frames that had never worked properly have been replaced by new automatic doors, the timber salvaged to line the new information desk at the station’s south end.

More discreetly, all of the materials on the outer façade have been faithfully replaced at ground-floor level, the rhythm of the new mullions, for example, closely matching those of the 1969 original.

The graphic identity of the station has also been spruced up. Private bus company branding has been filtered out, leaving only the bus stop numbers and destinations marked out in Rail Alphabet typeface along a backlit central band and upright markers.

After a jet-wash, the curved parapets of the station’s upper floors – the most iconic and ‘brutal’ elements of the Grade II-listed structure – appear softened, almost silky, in contrast to the rugged exposed aggregate columns running along the exterior façades.

The shapes of the coach stop initially served as a formal reference for a forthcoming youth centre, also designed by Puttick, a 2,600m² building that will occupy a plot on the northern end of the new station concourse when completed in 2019.


  • Begun: Nov 2016
  • Completed: Jun 2018
  • Floor area: 31,250m2
  • Sectors: Transport, Civic
  • Total cost: £11.5M
  • Address: Preston Bus Station, Preston, PR1 1YT, United Kingdom

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