When you think of American bus travel, you probably think of sticky floors, leering creeps, and bum fights.
But in Britain, things are very different: The humble town of Stoke-on-Trent wants to build a new city bus station, and one idea from Austin Smith Lord would create what is surely the world’s most futuristic bus depot.
Austin Smith Lord was the people’s choice winner against stiff competition, which included Wilkinson Eyre and Zaha Hadid. (The winner was a plan by Grimshaw Architects.) While the Austin Smith Lord scheme obviously looks pretty wacky, it also has a good dollop of logic: The main performance feature is a flowing layout that allows buses to enter and exit without ever having to back out of a parking space.
Beyond that, the station comes with heat-pumps that regulate interior temps via fresh air, and rainwater harvesting.
As to looks: The undulating design is supposed to reference the local Chinaware industry (led by titans such as Spode and Wedgewood). Um, yeah. Have you ever noticed how architects always make the futuristic seem kinda friendly by saying, “Look, I know this looks crazy, but this is just a version of what you already love about yourself!”