Urban beacon: John Puttick’s Youth Zone at the Preston Bus Station gets a redesign

Urban beacon: John Puttick’s Youth Zone at the Preston Bus Station gets a redesign

In the summer of 2015 John Purrick Associates was selected the triumphant winner in the prestigious Preston Bus Garage competition organised by the RIBA (on behalf of Lancashire County Council and Preston Youth Zone). Now, the architecture firm is revealing its refined proposal for the complex’s Youth Zone, a 2,600 sq m building providing sports, arts and performance spaces for young people.

The new standalone building that will house the Youth Zone will now sit to the station’s west – in earlier designs it was adjacent to the existing building – as a result of further studies and research into both technical and cost implications. However, these were not the only reasons behind the move. ‘It is significant from a heritage point of view as well because it creates a clear distinction between the contemporary John Puttick Associates addition and the existing Grade 2 listed bus station designed by BDP and completed in 1969’, explain the architects.

The new, pavilion-like design for the Youth Zone features a translucent facade and a colonnade on the ground level, to make the structure as open and inviting as possible. At night, the illuminated volume will become a beacon for Preston’s youth activities and sport. At the same time, its relationship with the iconic Brutalist bus station remains true to BDP’s original intention, which saw a number of ‘satellite’ structures around the main building.

‘One of our key objectives has been to design a building maximising available public space in and around the Bus Station to create a major new square for Preston. This supports the civic quality of the project,’ says John Puttick.

The Twentieth Century Society, which has been involved in consultation with the design team, have commended the architects’ efforts, and the new design will be presented in a public exhibition inside the Preston Bus Station building. 

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