Preston Bus Station - International Open Design Competition


Located in the north east corner of Preston City Centre, the Bus Station sits in the heart of a 22,500 m² site. This site is situated between Tithebarn Street to the west and Carlisle Street to the east and lies just south of the main junction between the A59 and the A6. To the north and east of the site lie a mixture of a hotel, office blocks and a large retail outlet, whilst to the west there are a variety of commercial offers and an area of open space adjacent to a nineteenth century brick warehouse which is also a grade II listed building.

At the mid-point of Tithebarn Street lies St John Shopping Centre an important neighbour of the Bus Station. This retail centre is owned by Praxis Developments who are currently preparing refurbishment/redevelopment plans for it.

To the South of the site and linked to the Bus Station building via a high level footbridge as well as a pedestrian subway (an extension of the subway that serves the taxi rank) lies the Bus Station's other important neighbour the Guild Hall complex. Similar to St Johns Shopping Centre, this building is also now under relatively new ownership (The Villa Group) and again subject to significant refurbishment/redevelopment plans.

Preston Bus Station is a monument and it needs to breathe. It wants a public space in front of it in order to regain its stature. Today it needs a front facade which should be quietly inviting, creating an esplanade. On that new esplanade, no new building could possibly compete in length or mass with the station’s immense presence. Therefore the proposed Youth Zone should go in one direction: up.    

Just like the station, it should barely touch the ground too. The esplanade will be a popular place for the whole Preston and also provide a front entrance to the station and its new retails and cafes. The Youth Zone will be made of a constellation of white rooms floating over the esplanade.


They will be draped by a translucent skin designed to give natural daylight and to control the climate of the new facility. It will blur the distinction between the inside and the outside. The main entrance and drop-off will be located on Tithebarn street with an open ground floor for the reception and open play area. The two first upper floors will be dedicated to the NHS clinic, the Barnardo’s facilities and the Youth Offending Team facilities.


The administration will be located just above on the 3rd floor. Then, the floors above will be dedicated to the general facilities of the Youth Zone, crowned by a cafe /servery with views over the city. The games hall will be completely underground as it does not require natural daylight and will allow to free the esplanade.


The building and the esplanade are carefully composed on a grid extracted from the station’s modular system. The esplanade will offer a semi-covered external play, a skate-park and a football pitch among other open green spaces for everyone to enjoy on sunny or less sunny days. The new Youth Zone will be a beacon in Preston and visible from afar.


It will be a destination for the community and the whole city. It will also link at ground floor with the station to create a seamless hub with the refurbished station. The climbing wall has not been forgotten and will be at the back of the vertical circulation cores literally rising 7 floors high.