One of my favourite historical sites, Preston Bus Station and Car Park, has been listed as one of the world’s most threatened cultural heritage sites.
Which of these two sentences are correct?
The answer, of course, is both.
The mysterious Nazca lines have for a long time held a great fascination for me. However, I see a lot more of Preston Bus Station.
The 1960s brutalist masterpiece is the city’s most iconic buildings. For years it has been on the list of buildings to be demolished as part of an unfinanced plan to redevelop one of Britain’s wettest cities.
But the non-profit World Monuments Fund have included it in a list of 67 treasured structures in 41 countries that are in danger, either through erosion, tourism or, in this case, a huge steel ball swinging from a large crane.
It’s fair to say that Preston Bus Station and Car Park – it is the latter which forms the most striking part of the building’s design – is as equally despised as it is revered.
For me, this concrete concourse with complimentary car park is now a beacon of 1960s design. It was built in 1967 by Keith Ingham for Building Design Partnership, with Ove Arup and Partners taking care of the weight-bearing structural curves on the upper levels.
As with all fashions, the building was hailed as revolutionary when it was built, then despaired of when tastes changed and now is revered as a design classic – by some people anyway.
Like Gateshead Car Park and, to a lesser extent, the now demolished section of Blackburn Shopping Centre, it has become an iconic building, its uniqueness battling with its ugliness for public acceptance.
The Secretary of State turned down an application to make it a Grade II listed building several years ago when a development company called Grovesnor applied to pull it down. Their plan has subsequently stalled.