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Preston Bus Station
Tithebarn Street, Preston, Lancashire
Preston Bus Station
associated engineer
Ove Arup & Partners
date  1969
era  Modern  |  category  Building  |  reference  SD542296
photo  Paul Dunkerley
Preston Bus Station is variously reported as the second largest bus station in western Europe, the longest in Europe, and the largest in the world. Built in 1969, it houses 80 arrival and departure gates for parking local and national buses, and a ground floor waiting hall large enough to house three aeroplanes.
The station is surrounded by concrete aprons, and set on an island structure, with priority overland access given to buses. It is reached on foot via pedestrian subways that stretch from The Guildhall complex at the southern end, and from Ringway at the northern end.
The ground floor of the building is devoted entirely to bus station activities, with ticket offices, customer waiting areas, refreshment and toilet facilities, a shop, and offices for the bus operators.
The upper levels of the building provide car parking, with 1,169 spaces that are accessible by access ramps. The car park is notable for the curved structure of the cantilevered concrete crash barriers. To reduce the weight of the barriers, their thickness was reduced to a minimum, with the unfortunate result of concrete spalling, and the rusting of the internal steel reinforcement.
The architect Keith Ingham of Building Design Partnership, who were based in Preston at the time, set out in association with the structural engineers Ove Arup & Partners, to model Preston Bus Station on the structure of an international airport. Turn of the century attempts to list the building were successfully opposed by local politicians, and the structure is now threatened with demolition as part of the proposed Tithebarn regeneration project.
Architect: Keith Ingham, Building Design Partnership
Research: PD and AJD

Preston Bus Station