Today, one of the finest buildings in Central Milton Keynes is one of its shabbiest. Yet beneath the grime and graffiti the original Central Bus Station near Station Square still shines. It sings of the open road and the thrill of the future because, after all, this was Milton Keynes. In Britain’s most ambitious garden city even a bus station; even the grid roads, would be both beautiful and highly efficient.
The Bus Station was designed by architects at Milton Keynes Development Corporation and shortly after opening in 1983 judges at the Structural Steel Design Awards praised its “scale, form and structure” which were of “particular importance to identify the building” and create an exceptionally attractive roofscape.
After most buses were re-routed into Station Square the Bus Station had a spell as a night club and pizza parlour. Then it was reinvented as The Buszy, a community enterprise that offers somewhere for local youngsters to meet.
This fine piece of C20 architecture now sits in a sea of broken (granite!) slabs, but at least it’s being used.
Perhaps one day the funds will be there to maintain the building, and the master-planned public realm of CMK, with the care and attention they richly deserve.
Meanwhile, there is talk of a new bus interchange off Secklow Gate, near the Listed Shopping Building. Encouragingly, delegates to a recent community design workshop insisted this should be “beautiful”. Perhaps these original photos of our first bus station will point the way!