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Stone, S.H., 2015.

Gate 81: Saving Preston Bus Station

Output Type:Conference paper
Dates:19/3/2015 - 21/3/2014

Gate 81: Saving Preston Bus Station

The Twenty-first-Century city is a combination of two different ideas; the traditional city of streets and squares, and the modern city of isolated elements surrounded by parkland. Preston, a provincial city in the north west of England is no exception; it has evolved into this awkward mixture of traditional and modern. Neither situation really responds or compliments the other, and so the city has grown into a collection of individual structures and spaces.

In the middle of this farrago of different styles and approaches is the "marvellously brutal" Bus Station, which was constructed in 1969 by BDP Architects. It is an incredibly long and elegant building; reputedly the largest bus-station in Europe. It contains a series of extended floor plates with upturned curving parapets, which appear to float over the double-height space of the public concourse.

Preston City Council propose to demolish the building and replace it with a surface car park. This building is a major cultural landmark; it should be preserved and creatively adapted to serve the city. It could act as a key building and public space to make Preston accessible and temper the decay that is affecting the city.
Gate 81 is a series of projects that aims to bring to greater attention the plight of the Preston's Bus Station, with the intention of raising the profile of the building, and therefore increasing the chance of saving it from the intended demolition. There has been a considerable amount of negativity surrounding the future of the Bus Station, and this is an attempt to bring some optimism to the situation.
Gate 81 is collaboration between architects, academics, arts organisations, with support from the Arts Council and Manchester Metropolitan University. This paper will document the Gate 81 projects and report upon this sanguine approach to conservation.