Preston Bus Station


Lancashire County Council (“the County Council”) invites UK and international architects and urban designers to enter this competition for the development of the iconic grade II listed Preston Bus Station and its adjoining western apron, to include the provision of a brand new Youth Zone, a state of the art facility for the young people of Preston.

The County Council is keen to explore the opportunities this development presents to improve the connectivity from the Bus Station through to the wider City Centre thereby offering the people of Preston a new and exciting civic space, and a more attractive pedestrian route with the aim of generating a catalyst for further development within this part of the City Centre.

Further information on the aims and vision for this part of the city centre can be found in the Preston City Centre Plan

The competition will be in two phases. During the first phase the County Council will invite conceptual designs which will be judged anonymously. Following this initial evaluation 5 submissions will be shortlisted and invited to take part in phase two of the competition for which they will be awarded an honorarium. During phase two of the competition more detailed briefing information will be available and the shortlisted design teams will be asked to develop their designs further in the light of the feedback received from their phase 1 submissions and the additional information provided.

It is anticipated that the County Council will seek to retain the services of the winning consultant at least up to and including RIBA Stage 4 (subject to confirmation), and, subject to performance, probably beyond to the completion of the project. Quantity Surveying services for the project will be provided by the County Council's Design and Construction team.

In terms of the eventual contractor for the project works, they will be appointed from the County Council's own construction framework.


  • Competition Launch

    Wednesday, 25 February 2015

  • Question Deadline

    Wednesday, 11 March 2015

  • Submission Deadline

    Thursday, 30 April 2015 by 2pm

  • Site, Building, History and Context


    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.

    The County Council has been and will continue to work closely with Praxis and The Villa Group given the proximity of the three buildings and the strategic relationship St Johns Shopping Centre and the Guild Hall complex have with the Bus Station.

    Preston Bus Station Aerial View


    The building itself consists of a 4,250 m² double height ground floor, including a 1100 m² mezzanine floor, with 9 levels of car parking above. In total the building provides for 1150 cars, however for the purposes of this design competition the 9 levels of parking and the associated access ramps are out of scope.

    At the southern end of the site lies the taxi rank, a curved structure that mimics the architectural curved edges to the car park decks on the main building. This taxi rank will house the new coach station arrival and departure lanes and as such also lies out of scope for the purposes of this design competition.

    The ground floor of the building is very much open plan with continuous vistas along the length of the building on both sides of the central spine of accommodation, which includes the mezzanine floor above. Both sides currently accommodate bus departure gates with the central accommodation housing a variety of commercial offers and concessions, toilets and vertical circulation which leads up to the car parking above. Going forward only the eastern half of the building will be used for bus arrivals and departures which will free up the western half and indeed the western apron of the site for development.

    The mezzanine floor houses a variety of office accommodation which currently is taken up in the main by the two bus companies that operate out of the building. It is anticipated that the structure of this central spine and mezzanine will remain intact and continue to house the current commercial demise although both being subject to refurbishment as is seen fit. As a result design proposals for the physical alteration to this central spine are not sought as part of this design competition.

    Taxi rank from Guild hall


    Preston Bus Station, the largest in Europe when it was completed in 1969, was developed to provide the added services needed to serve the emergence of Central Lancashire New town in the late 1960s of which Preston would form the core.

    Designed by Preston architectural practice BDP, It was also to serve the long distance services that would be made possible by the opening of the M6, the first motorway in Britain, which gave Preston a unique place in coach travel.

    The design of this bus station consciously sought to offer bus passengers greatly enhanced comforts with clean modern facilities, with refreshments and heated waiting rooms separated by sliding doors from the buses outside. It was to be a bus station that overtly aspired to some of the glamour of air travel, combining rational modernity with expressive architectural forms.

    Constructed in concrete the building was at the forefront of the use of GRP moulds giving a smooth finish and the compound curved surfaces which have become the predominant feature of the building.

    Interior Long View


    The redevelopment of this bus station will take place at a time when Preston as a whole will be seeing a number of other major redevelopment projects. Please see the plan of these developments under the supporting documentation section of this brief.

    Competition Contact

    The competition is being administered by RIBA Competitions, to whom any enquiries relating to the general conditions of this competition should be addressed.

        0113 203 1490

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