In 2013, following a number of campaigns, a 1969 Brutalist icon in the northern British city of Preston was listed. The future of this bus terminal—one of the largest in the UK and the biggest in Europe when it originally opened—was, until last month, a matter of considerable speculation and debate. This week the results of an international open-call competition for proposals transforming into a new youth centre were revealed, selecting the proposal of New York based practice John Puttick Associates as 'the best of the lot.' The 'lot', however, left something to be desired. Preston Bus Station was designed by Manchester-based Building Design Partnership (BDP) during their heyday, and at a time when Preston was a major stop on the M6, Britain's first motorway. As nothing more than a sheltered public transport terminal below with four tiers of multi-storey car park above, it was not destined to be anything more than a bus station. Yet soon its 190 metre-long ridged parapets, which extend the whole length of the building, became synonymous with a stylistic variant of Brutalism that was far more sinuous and sculptural than other buildings of the same era. Engineered by Ove Arup, the final interior details were implemented by BDP's in-house graphics team who chose to narrate the internal public spaces with airport style signage.
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