‘Marmite’ bus station up for Riba prize

Image copyright Gareth Gardner
Image caption The revamp of the building was completed in June 2018

The refurbishment of a “loved or loathed” bus station threatened with demolition is in the running to be named the UK’s best new building.

Preston’s Brutalist bus station was given Grade II-listed status in 2013, but had also been called an “eyesore” by a city council leader.

Prof Charles Quick, who fought to save it from demolition, said it was “wonderful” it was on the Riba Stirling Prize 2019 longlist.

The revamp was completed in June 2018.

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Riba’s citation calls it “an exemplary restoration and reworking of a mid-century building”.

Mr Quick, the University of Central Lancashire professor of public art practice, said he was not surprised the refurbishment of the station had received recognition, as it was “really sympathetic and brought it into the 21st Century”.

‘Marmite building’

He is helping to organise events this year to mark its 50th anniversary including an exhibition opening in September called ‘Beautiful and Brutal: 50 Years in the life of Preston Bus Station at Preston’s Harris Museum’.

James Arnold, who is co-curating it, said the building certainly got people talking.

“It has been described as Marmite, people love it or loathe it but it always gets a reaction,” he said.

Other buildings on Riba’s list include Battersea Arts Centre in London, which had been left derelict after a fire, the restoration of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Art Deco tea rooms in Glasgow and Weston Tower, the most significant addition to Westminster Abbey since 1745.

The winner will be announced on 8 October.

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