The World Monuments Fund has just announced the winner of the Knoll Modernism Prize: Preston Bus Station, restored by John Puttick Associates, was named this year’s stand-out building. The win represents a first for any UK firm since the prize was founded in 2008.
WMF President and CEO Bénédicte de Montlaur said the prize has a specific focus on “sustainable and community-centered approaches to adapting modern buildings.” “By doing so,” he added, “we celebrate the power of preservation as a positive force in society.”
Puttick’s team worked carefully to restore the 53-year-old BDP-designed brutalist structure in Preston, England, adapting the existing buildings while upgrading key infrastructure in a delicate approach that was sensitive to both the original materials and form.
The depot, which was once the most trafficked in Europe, fell into disrepair and was eventually added to the World Monuments Watch in 2012 over its looming demolition. A competition was then launched, with Puttick eventually coming out on top. The firm began the long restoration process shortly after being selected in 2015.
“Despite the threat of demolition hanging over the Preston Bus Station for many years, community interest and sustained advocacy eventually triumphed, reaffirming this monumental civic building to its pride of place at the core of the Lancashire town of Preston,” juror Susan Macdonald said. “Large-scale transport infrastructure can be challenging to conserve in ways that meet contemporary demands whilst retaining their material character and quality—this project achieves both.”
Additional project images can be viewed below.
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