Central Hall, National Railway Museum
Central Hall is an iconic centrepiece building for the National Railway Museum in York, creating outstanding welcome, arrival and gallery spaces as well as improving the site’s connectivity and legibility. Feilden Fowles beat 75 other teams to the commission, which will transform the visitor arrival experience and integrate the National Railway Museum’s estate in time for its 50th anniversary in 2025.
Our design reflects the spirit of the great railway architecture of the 19th century, generating uplifting and jubilant spaces that celebrate the excitement and reverence for the railways. The design is based on the team’s low-tech philosophy, dramatically reducing our reliance on concrete and steel to lower embodied carbon through a beautifully crafted timber frame structure. A combination of passive design principles and active systems reduce the site wide operational carbon footprint by 80%.
Central Hall rises proudly above Museum Square referencing locomotive roundhouses and drawing inspiration from the tradition of the world’s great museums with large, welcoming circular halls that inspire curiosity to explore the collections beyond. Balancing the industrial railway vernacular of the former York North locomotive depot and Goods Station, the building creates warm, welcoming and uplifting spaces, dramatically improving the comfort and wellbeing of visitors, staff and volunteers.
As we enter a new renaissance in railway innovation, the revitalisation of the National Railway Museum will have a significant impact on the future of the railways in the UK and beyond.