Preston Bus Station wins WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize 2021

Preston Bus Station wins WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize 2021

The World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize 2021 goes to John Puttick Associates for the studio’s work on the Preston Bus Station in the UK

The World Monuments Fund (WMF)/Knoll Modernism Prize 2021 has just been announced. Its grand winner for this year is British architecture studio John Puttick Associates, recognised for its thoughtful and sensitive renovation work on the Preston Bus Station in Preston, UK. The building, an icon of modernist architecture originally completed in 1969 to a design by BDP, is Grade-II listed but was tired and neglected, when Puttick and his team stepped in. Their refresh was unveiled to critical acclaim in 2018. 

‘It has been a privilege to work on a project that celebrates passenger experience in the way Preston Bus Station did when it opened,’ said Puttick at the time, when we covered the reopening of the Preston Bus Station. ‘Its scale and monumentality are well known but inside the building one appreciates the way it welcomed people. Our goal has been to bring back the clarity of movement achieved in the original design, as well as the sensitive details which impart a human scale to the building. These qualities are tangible even when the station is at its busiest, making it a dignified place to be.’

WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize 2021 celebrates the power of preservation

interior of departures and arrivals halls at Preston Bus Station as restored by John Puttick Associates, wins WMF/Knoll Moderism Prize 2021

In their conservation design, John Puttick Associates maintained the building’s iconic linearity and strong geometries, by carefully restoring its existing fabric. Its features were lovingly returned to their original material and colour palette, while the interior was cleaned and opened up. The entry points were consolidated into a single, flowing entrance hall, emphasising pedestrian functions – as opposed to the structure’s original focus on vehicle use – to bring the space into the 21st century.

‘The prize focused specifically this year on sustainable and community-centered approaches to adapting modern buildings. By doing so, we celebrate the power of preservation as a positive force in society. The restoration of Preston Bus Station has enhanced both the social and public benefit of the station, which counts over 10,000 bus departures every week and contributes to minimising the significant carbon footprint of commuting in the face of climate change,’ says WMF president and CEO Bénédicte de Montlaur. ‘We are thrilled to recognise the outstanding achievements of John Puttick Associates with this year’s prize.’ 

The WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize 2021 celebrates modernist architecture and raises awareness as part of World Monuments Fund’s goal of ‘safeguarding the world’s most treasured places’. §

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