10 World's Coolest Designed Bus Terminals

While most bus stations are ugly, perfunctory and utilitarian, there are plenty that break the mould and show that stunning architecture can be found in the most unlikely places

1. Poole Bus Station

Poole Bus Station Photo: Penson

The 40-year-old Wilts & Dorset Poole Bus Station, renovated by Penson Architects, resembles a living dream. It a giant mural, based on views of various local activities, such as wind-surfing which gives the appearance of a huge piece of glass reflecting the station activities below.

2. Cloud-Like Canopy for Bus Station in Aarau

Cloud-Like Canopy for Bus Station in Aarau Photo: Vehovar & Jauslin

Zurich architects Mateja Vehovar and Stefan Jauslin designed this reflective and semi-translucent, bluish ETFE canopy that reminds us of an air cushion. Hovering over the bus station, this bubble canopy features a fine print courtesy Jauslin and Paolo Monaco.

3. Slough Bus Station

Slough Bus Station Photo: Hufton + Crow

You've got to feel a bit sorry for Slough: the Berkshire town was the eponymous subject of derision in a 

famous poem by John Betjeman

 and, more recently, was chosen as the location of the fictional paper company in the original version of TV sitcom The Office; but to all its detractors, Slough can at least boast of having one of the world's best-designed bus stations.

4. Arriva Headquarters Guimarães

Arriva Headquarters Guimarães Photo: © FG+SG

Ricardo Vieira de Melo of 

RVDM Arquitectos

 conceived the Edifícios Portugueses bus facility to solve certain logistical issues for public transport company Arriva.

5. Bus Station at Spaarne Hospital (Sesign aarne Ziekenhuis)

Bus Station at Spaarne Hospital (Sesign aarne Ziekenhuis) Photo: Radek Brunecky

This mammoth creation of architects NIO of Holland, located as a roundabout in front of Hoofddorp's Spaarne Hospital, resembles a whale's jaw. Built in 2003, it emerges as a cross between black Baroque and white modernism, à la Oscar Niemeyer.

6. Preston Bus Station

Preston Bus Station Photo: Roger Park

One of the largest bus stations in Western Europe, Preston Station has the capacity to hold 1,100 cars and 80 double decker buses. Threatened with demolition 10 years ago, but later listed as a Grade II building, this iconic modernist building, a 1969 creation of Arup, was rightly acclaimed as an architectural triumph.

7. Bus Station in Osijek

Bus Station in Osijek Photo: © Mario Romulic & Drazen Stojcic

Architects Predrag and Bruno Rechner of Rechner, Osijek, Croatia shaped this lengthy bus station in accordance with the city's outline along the river Drava.

8. Vauxhall Bus Station

Vauxhall Bus Station

Completed in 2005 as part of the regeneration of this previously rundown area of south London, Vauxhall bus station still looks bold and ultra modern with its ski-slope curves rendered in stainless steel.

9. Busbahnhof Poppenbüttel

Busbahnhof Poppenbüttel Picture: Blunck + Morgan Architekten

This bus station, awarded Building of the Year 2009 by the Hamburg Architecture and Engineering Association (AIV e.v Hamburg), was designed by architects Blunck-Morgen, with the intention of sculpting an airborne edifice. The 1800 m² wingshaped roof seems to be floating lightly above, which is the striking design element in the modernised bus station that is built like an island and has eight bus bays around it.

10. Bus station, Thiais

Bus station, Thiais Photo: Benoit Fougeirol

Designed by Emmanuel Combarel and Dominique Marrec, founders of ECDM, this bus station in the Paris suburb of Thiais is covered with Ductal, a high performance concrete with a raised texture that resembles the surface of Lego bricks. Bold cut-out sections in the building's otherwise monolithic facade are glazed, and these are lit up in different primary colours.