John Puttick Associates was founded five years ago and made an immediate impact with its Preston Bus Station renovation
Words by Sophie Tolhurst
John Puttick Associates (JPA) was founded five years ago by John Puttick, and made an immediate impact with the refurbished and extended Grade II listed Preston Bus Station. Reopened in 2018, the brutalist landmark was longlisted for the 2019 Stirling Prize and won National and Regional RIBA awards.
JPA has since been invited to work on several public projects, such as a youth centre for Croydon, a cemetery for Watford, Watford Museum, and the Grade II listed Charles Barry church in Brighton, while overseas it has completed the Surge Gallery for emerging artists in Beijing.
JPA’s buildings are pared-down and sculptural, creating a sense of calm balanced with a feeling of joy and warmth. The team works through hand drawings and physical models, while taking great interest in the engineering side to ensure highly functional buildings.
JPA considers architecture an ‘art of construction’, and the forms display the desire for clear expression of each element of a building and the interrelationships of spaces. JPA is sensitive to project specifics, seen in an intimate shelter for mourners, or in its shortlisted proposal for the V&A entrance hall, mixing unobtrusive conservation with considered but statement interventions to the historical space.
1. Mourner’s Shelter, Cemetery Lodge, Hertfordshire
JPA is building a new shelter to go alongside its renovation and extension of the Cemetery Lodge, that shows great sensitivity to the needs of mourners, and takes on the ‘pastoral quality of the surrounding landscape’. The shelter provides a place to convene before a service, and a place for quiet contemplation. Natural materials of wood and shingles, carefully placed roof lights, and a curving bench, helps the transition between the cemetery offices and the tree-lined cemetery.
2. Preston Bus Station
The restoration on this listed building appears minimally invasive yet achieves necessary conservation work alongside significant improvements to the functionality of the station. Vehicle and pedestrian circulation has improved considerably, while material renovations use 21st-century methods to convert original features so that they are sustainable and functional, while keeping the original appearance and intentions of design; for example, the heavy timber sliding doors have been replaced by bronze anodised aluminium automated doors.
3. Croydon Youth Zone
As part of a charity initiative to provide inspiring community space for young people, Croydon Youth Zone offers a performance space and sports hall, as well as a central, double-height hall that functions as a social space for all users of the building. The project uses passive design, wind catchers and more to achieve a target of BREEAM Excellent. Sensitive to the natural site and its mature trees, the two main parts of the building are staggered to reduce its overall scale, and the facade uses board-on-board Siberian larch cladding over a charcoal-grey brick base to blend more subtly into the natural surrounds.