Liverpool Architecture Lecturer in National Heritage Award

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Preston Bus Station

A lecturer at the Liverpool School of Architecture, Dr Christina Malathouni, was part of the team that won this year’s Heritage Alliance Heroes Award for its ‘Save Preston Bus Station’ campaign. The campaign concluded a 15-year battle to save the celebrated 1960s landmark from demolition. The award, announced last week, is made annually and celebrates the outstanding contribution to society made by heritage volunteers in England.

With its curved concrete front that creates an elegant light and dark horizontal banding effect along its entire main east and west elevations, Preston Bus Station is widely regarded as one of the most important monuments of 1960s Brutalist architecture in the UK. It also represents an important stage in the evolution of integrated design in England pioneered by Building Design Partnership.

Dr Malathouni’s research played a key role in saving Preston Bus Station. Previous attempts on two occasions to have the building listed had been unsuccessful but research undertaken by her revealed the key role of Glass-Reinforced Polyester (GRP) in the construction of the building, a fact that had been overlooked in earlier attempts to place the building under statutory protection. This new information was incorporated in the listing application written by Dr Malathouni in 2012 and this enabled English Heritage to re-open the case, less than two years since it had been last turned down for listing – a very unusual situation. As a result, in September 2013 Preston Bus Station was finallly added to the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest at Grade II.

The Preston Bus Station case has attracted not only national but also international attention: the building was included in the 2012 World Monuments Watch, as part of the ‘British Brutalism’ entry. It was also presented at an international conference on World Heritage and the 20th Century (Filling the Gaps), supported by ICOMOS’s International Scientific Committee on 20th-Century Heritage (ICOMOS-ISC20C) and held in Chandigarh, India, in October 2013.

Dr Malathouni said, “I am delighted that the special architectural interest of Preston Bus Station has been recognised and the building’s positive contribution to Preston cityscape will not be lost. The outcome of this campaign shows the important role that historical research can play in contemporary developments concerning our built environment. I feel honoured to have been part of such a lively campaign supported by a large number of individuals and distinct organisations.”

Contact: Dr Christina Malathouni