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Sun September 19 2021

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Winning design picked for railway museum's Central Hall

26 Mar 20 A team led by architect Feilden Fowles has won the international design competition to create a new Central Hall for the National Railway Museum in York.

Feilden Fowles' winning design
Feilden Fowles' winning design

Feilden Fowles’ team beat 75 others to the commission for a Central Hall to transform the visitor arrival experience in time for the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2025.

The jury praised the winning design concept for “its elegance, its ambitious energy strategy and its intriguing new visitor journeys”.

The copper-clad two-storey rotunda design is said to reference the history of locomotive roundhouses and railway turntables.

The design concept uses a timber frame to reduce the embedded carbon associated with concrete and steel.

Feilden Fowles’ design concept was developed with Max Fordham as building services engineer and Price & Myers as structural and civil engineer.

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Judith McNicol, director of the National Railway Museum, said: “Feilden Fowles demonstrated a real sensitivity to the site’s railway heritage and to the historic character of the city of York. The building will play a vital role in linking the museum and will provide a focal point for the wider York Central development. We were delighted to share all the finalists’ design concepts both online and at the museum; this gave us a real sense of the incredible enthusiasm the public have for our vision to become the world’s railway museum.”

Competition director Malcolm Reading said: “This competition attracted significant interest; we welcomed entrants from 19 countries and a global audience from 129 countries visited the website. The finalist schemes were of a particularly high quality and the competition offered an almost perfect case study in terms of variety of form and materiality. We would like to thank all of the competitors for entering.”

Feilden Fowles has a reputation for projects in sensitive historic settings, including the new visitor centre for the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. It is currently also working with Max Fordham and the National Trust on a new building for Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal.

Director Fergus Feilden said: “We’re thrilled to win this nationally significant competition. The brief combined three of our passions – museum architecture, great railway architecture of the 19th century and working in Yorkshire. Central Hall is both a tremendous challenge and a unique opportunity to create a new face and connected experience for the museum. We can’t wait to start work with such a fantastic client.”

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