Gate 81: Saving Preston Bus Station

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Sally Stone


The discovery and recognition of the embodied meaning of a place can be interpreted through the existing building. The installation artist, the designer and the architect regard the building not as a blank canvas but as multi- layered structure, which they have the opportunity to activate. They have the opportunity to reflect upon the contingency, usefulness and emotional resonance of a particular place and use this knowledge to heighten the viewer’s perception of it.

The relationship between the building and its wider location has often been seen as somewhat ambiguous and yet it is possible to describe some spaces as encapsulating, in miniature, the characteristic qualities or features of a much wider situation.The interior has an obvious and direct relationship with the building that it occupies, the people who use it, and also it can have a connection with the area in which it is located.

Preston Bus Station is a marvellously brutal building. In 2012, the Preston City Council proposed its demolition and replacement with a surface car park; they refused to consider proposals for building re-use. This provocative act galvanised the various groups that were campaigning to save the building and proved to be the impetus for a number of different types of projects.

Gate 81, a collaboration between architects, designers, academics and arts organisations, curated a series of events within the Bus Station with the intention of raising the profile of the building.This paper will discuss the nature of the building, document the Gate 81 projects and report upon this sanguine approach to conservation.

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How to Cite
Stone, Sally. 2018. “Gate 81:: Saving Preston Bus Station”. Idea Journal 14 (1):80-95.
text-based research essay