Preston Bus Station

Preston Bus Station, designed originally by BDP and completed in 1969, is a renowned, Grade II-listed Brutalist building, which Skelly & Couch has helped to return to its former glory through modern technologies and sensitive refurbishment techniques.

The project enhances the functionality and use of the bus station concourse. Reinforcing its high civic quality and planned in consultation with the Twentieth Century Society and Heritage England, the project replaces the under-used bus parking expanse with a new public realm, providing an important link to the rest of the city.

Given that the bus station is a refurbishment, as well as a Grade II-listed building, there were inevitable constraints on the scope of building performance objectives for the project, for which Skelly & Couch has carried out full environmental design.

An effort was made to upgrade the existing lighting and technology provisions to create a space that is well lit, welcoming, technology friendly, energy efficient in its use of electricity and also compliant with the various regulatory standards of performance; all the while minimising the visual impact of the services.

The lighting design in particular, made possible by advances in LED technology and controls, highlights and enhances the iconic building’s dramatic architectural heritage. The most powerful LED lights are linear fittings concealed in a shelf around the building’s perimeter, with others hidden in the coffers.

In view of the extensive exposed concrete in the building, a significant challenge was how and where to conceal the service runs, especially since the new bus station has considerably more technology than when it was built, such as CCTV, PA and digital screens. The problem was addressed by a band which runs around the middle of the façade and includes back-lit boxes above the doors, where most of the conduits are hidden.

Additionally, air source heat pump technology generates efficient base load heating and cooling to all parts of the new building. Boosted natural ventilation has been introduced wherever possible to reduce energy use and provide an intuitive and comfortable environment.

Winner of a 2019 RIBA National Award as well as three 2019 RIBA North West awards; Regional Award, Client of the Year (Lancashire County Council) and Conservation Award.

RIBA North West's interim regional director, Tom Mills, said 'It is especially pleasing to see that the refurbishment of Preston Bus Station has received three Regional Awards through a collaborative architectural approach. The architect's subtle, sophisticated and sustainable response to the conservation of this landmark building has ensured that a key Northern transport hub will remain in use for many more years to come.'

Shortlisted for an AJ Retrofit Award 2019 (Listed Building £5 million and over).

Winner of two 2022 Civic Trust Awards: a UK Award and a Special Award for Reuse and Adaptation. Judges’ Comments: “The protection of this unique brutalist structure is to be applauded and the interventions undertaken have been well considered and implemented to ensure the users of the building are safe and comfortable.”