Thursday, 20 December 2012

RIP Preston bus station? (And commemorative print sale.)

Anyone live near Preston? Then you'll know the city's brilliantly brutalist and quite extraordinary-looking, 1969-built concrete bus station with its mad, shadowy curves... 

...and the sad news that its demolition has just been approved by Preston Council, after attempts by English Heritage and the 20th Century Society to have it listed were vetoed by our lovely culture secretary. You can read more about the story in this piece in yesterday's Guardian – thanks to Abi for sending this link – meanwhile, enjoy these stunning photographs of the building, taken by Jonathan Kenyon (and keep reading if you'd like to buy prints of any of the images).

All photos by Jonathan Kenyon
 








Surprisingly (especially when you browse around his website and see the quality of his work), Jonathan  isn't a full-time photographer. "Photography is just a hobby of mine," he says. "I work in the construction industry as an estimator for a full-time job – hence my love for the architecture of Preston bus station. I initially did the set of images for a coursework piece a few years back and I have had quite a lot of interest in them ever since."

I'm not surprised. They are so beautiful. And if you agree, and are interested in owning one or more, Jonathan is selling (approximately) A3 sized prints, which cost £75 each including p&p. Jonathan's Tumblr blog is also worth a look – as are his wedding, portrait and band photography skills, all of which you can check out on his website. Busy guy...

Contact Jonathan at info@jonathankenyon.co.uk or see his info page.


And back to the demolition... It's not everyone's cup of tea but, as the 20th Century Society point out, it is "irreplaceable". "Built in 1969 to the designs of Building Design Partnership, the building featured on the World Monuments Fund 2012 international list of historic sites at risk," it explains on the Society's website. "The building is a rare survivor of the transport mega-structures of the 1960s and is one of the most significant Brutalist buildings in the UK."

I know that it was local action that saved my local market in Brixton from becoming a faceless shopping mall (quite what's happening to it now is another sad story of rent hikes and cultural bulldozering, even though the building is safe). But for Preston's striking, glowering monster of a bus station, there is still this petition...

For further reading about automotive architecture in Britain, you might like this fascinating piece about a new English Heritage book on the topic in the Independent by Jack Watkins.


6 comments:

  1. Love the photos, Jonathan has really made the bus station transform into something beautiful with it's crazy angles, those white endless tiny tiles and the curviest roads ever that surround it.

    The sad thing is, Jonathan's talent has made this place look like something out of this world when in reality it's a bloody dump and an eyesore. Stick a black and white filter and look at it at jaunty angles and is IS beautiful. However drive past it on the A6 and it makes you want to vomit, walk through it and you surely will vomit thanks to the smell.

    Just my humble opinion though as an ex Preston resident.

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    1. Haha. It is very good to have all sides of the argument. I hope it's not what drove you out of Preston...

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  2. Those photos look great but don't really do justice to the unmistakable stench of stale urine which should accompany them!
    I live in Preston and simply cannot wait for the demolition to begin.

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  3. Lovely photos of the interior! I'm from Preston and always loved the round taxi rank and curved wood and concrete benches, it's like a giant marble run. I hope by some miracle that it doesn't get demolished, and instead gets the restoration it deserves. :)

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    1. Lauren, you seem to be the only person from Preston who doesn't hate the place - it's definitely sparked some debate!

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