‘For any one firm to have done two buildings of that scale and quality in 10 years, I would call a lifetime’s achievement’
Iain Nairn on the Preston Bus station and Halifax Building Society HQ
So what do you do when a work meeting takes you to a city you have never visited before? Clearly you go and visit the bus station.
Well you do if you if the city is Preston and the bus station is a magnificent example of brutalist architecture.
Approaching from the north side it is one of the long sweeping curves up to the car park that is first seen. You walk under this ramp and into the station building. Close to you can see that some care and attention is needed but the structure still looks strong and purposeful.
Inside, it feels like you are back in the 1970s but the strong, functional design appears to still work well. With only a little extra cleaning and some limited modernising of the retail spaces the passenger concourse would be as dynamic and fresh as when it first opened. It has the atmosphere of a successful building, albeit one that has been harshly treated over the years.
The building was designed by Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson of Building Design Partnership with E. H. Stazicker and built by Ove Arup and Partners between 1968 and 1969. Whilst rightly recognised as one of the most striking and important buildings of its type in the country for many years it was threatened by demolition in the various schemes for the redevelopment of the area.
But it is the short film 56,000 by short film by Paul Adams and Andrew Wilson that is the best way to understand the importance of the building’s architecture and history.
The campaign to save PBS was justly successful but other butalist masterpieces are still at risk.
The equally important Madin Library of Birmingham is threatened with impending destruction and must be saved.
With apologies to The Who for the titles
— words & pictures by Paul
— more pictures on Flickr