I’m going to be doing a public talk on Tuesday 29th January as part of a project entitled Open to the Public which has been set up the artists Katja van Driel and Wouter Osterholt, commissioned by the Preston-based In Certain Places. Described as an “Art project about vacant buildings as a means for creating access to the city” my contribution will be a short talk about Preston Bus Station and modernist architecture within the context of regeneration and city renewal.
To get myself in the mood I’ve been listening to the excellent BBC4 archive broadcast “Rebuilding Britain for the Baby Boomers” (which is available on iPlayer for another week). Though primarily focused on Sheffield’s Park Hill Estate, the architect-presenter Maxwell Hutchinson does manage to draw out several themes that are relevant to many similarly contentious modernist schemes, particularly as many are now coming to the point where their future status is being determined – and Preston Bus Station is an obvious current example of this:
- the way modernist buildings become ‘scapegoats’ for social and economic ills and therefore become judged as ‘failures’;
- the accusation that ‘architects are enamoured with this type of architecture but other people aren’t’;
- and the influence of a ‘modernist loving crowd’
All of these points have cropped up during both my Conserving C20 research and the smaller Preston Bus Station project, so I look forward to hearing other people’s opinons about what they think the future of Preston Bus Station will be. At present it is lined up for demolition in 2014, but with a third application for listing recently submitted to English Heritage by the Twentieth Century Society, not to mention plenty of on-going discussion and local campaigning, I’d like to think that the end of the Bus Station is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.
For more info on other events that have been organised as part of Open to the Public: http://www.opentopublic.org/blog-3
e-Petition to Stop Demolition of Preston Bus Station: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43236