2021 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize Winner

Preston Bus Station

World Monuments Fund (WMF) and Knoll are pleased to announce that Preston Bus Station, a British brutalist building, is the winner of the 2021 WMF/Knoll Modernism Prize.

Award Celebrates Sustainable, Community-Centered Approaches to Adapting Modern Buildings

John Puttick Associates was awarded the 2021 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize, recognizing its thoughtful and detailed conservation of Preston Bus Station, located in Preston, UK, a civic monument of central importance that serves as a hub for mass transit.

Preston Bus Station was designed in 1968 by Keith Ingham and Charles Wilson of the Building Design Partnership (BDP) and the engineering firm Ove Arup. The station was designed to be the hub and municipal transit center for Central Lancashire New Town. When it opened to the public in October 1969, it was Europe's largest bus station.

The station is representative of brutalist architecture and transport planning of the post-war era in its use of exposed reinforced concrete structure, which houses an integrated car parking, bus, and taxi facility. In 2012, Preston Bus Station was included on the World Monuments Watch as a response to the threat of demolition and to raise awareness about the significance of brutalist architecture in the UK. In 2015, after years of neglect, a design competition was held by the building's new owners, Lancashire County Council, leading to the appointment of John Puttick Associates to restore the station.


Updating key infrastructure, while honoring the form, materials, and design intent of the original building was key to the restoration.

The careful approach resulted not only in the meticulous restoration of the site but also in renewing the expression of civic pride that Preston Bus Station represented in its early days.

The rigorous intervention included the improvement of connectivity between the station and the rest of the city by prioritizing pedestrian accessibility and rearranging the waiting areas to face a new square. This was combined with a thorough restoration of the original materials, such as the rubber flooring and the color palette in the interior spaces, including the "spine" of services that run through the center of the building.

The World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism prize jury valued the detailed and extensive efforts of this project to preserve the full spectrum of historic significance of Preston Bus Station: from its original materials and aesthetic to the building’s essential role as a civic center of transit and urban connectivity.

“The prize focused specifically this year on sustainable and community-centered approaches to adapting modern buildings. By doing so, we celebrate the power of preservation as a positive force in society. The restoration of Preston Bus Station has enhanced both the social and public benefit of the station, which counts over 10,000 bus departures every week and contributes to minimizing the significant carbon footprint of commuting in the face of climate change,” said Bénédicte de Montlaur, President and CEO of WMF. “We are thrilled to recognize the outstanding achievements of John Puttick Associates with this year’s prize.”

2020-2021 JURY MEMBERS

Barry Bergdoll, Chairman
Meyer Schapiro Professor of Art History and Archaeology
Columbia University; New York, NY

Dietrich Neumann

Professor of the History of Modern Architecture and Director, Urban Studies, Department of the History of Art and Architecture

Brown University; Providence, RI

Jean-Louis Cohen

Sheldon H. Solow Professor in the History of Architecture

Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; New York, NY

Theo Prudon

President, Docomomo US, and Adjunct Professor of Historic Preservation

Columbia University and Pratt Institute; New York, NY

Susan Macdonald

Head, Buildings and Sites

The Getty Conservation Institute; Los Angeles, CA

Karen Stein

Critic, Architectural Advisor, and Executive Director of the George Nelson Foundation

New York, NY

Courtney J. Martin

Director of the Yale Center for British Art

Yale University; New Haven, CT

Mabel O. Wilson

Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation; Professor in African American and African Diasporic Studies; and Director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies

Columbia University; New York, NY


Previous World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Winners

2018: Karl Marx School

The 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to Christiane Schmuckle-Mollard for the preservation of the Karl Marx School.

Justus Van Effen Complex, winner of 2016 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize

2016: Justus van Effen Complex

The 2016 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism prize was awarded to Molenaar & Co. architecten, Hebly Theunissen architecten, and landscape architect Michael van Gessel for the preservation and rehabilitation of the Justus van Effen complex in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

2014: Viipuri Library

The 2014 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to the Finnish Committee for the Restoration of Viipuri Library with the Central City Alvar Aalto Library in Vyborg.

Hizuchi Elementary School

2012: Hizuchi Elementary School

The 2012 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to the Architectural Consortium for Hizuchi Elementary School, for its impeccable restoration of Hizuchi Elementary School in Yawatahama City, Japan following serious damage from a 2004 typhoon.

2010: Zonnestraal Sanatorium

The 2010 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to Bierman Henket Architecten and Wessel de Jonge Architecten for their exemplary restoration of the Zonnestraal Sanatorium, a little-known but iconic modern structure in Hilversum, the Netherlands.

ADGB Trade Union School, 2008 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize winner

2008: ADGB Trade Union School

The 2008 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize was awarded to Brenne Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH, headed by Winfried Brenne and Franz Jaschke, for their restoration of the Bauhaus-designed ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau, Germany.

World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize

Related Sites

British Brutalism

Birmingham, Preston, and London, England, United Kingdom
Brutalist buildings represent a major movement in British architectural history, but they are underappreciated and at risk of being demolished.