• Central Hall, NRM

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.

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.

Project: Central Hall, National Railway Museum
Location: York
Building Type: Museum, Cafe, Retail
Project budget: £16.5 million
Status: Concept design
Gross internal floor area: 4,500 sqm


Client: National Railway Museum, Science Museum Group
Structural engineer: Price & Myers
M&E engineer: Max Fordham

Selected Press

January 2022, Richard Waite, ‘Feilden Fowles submits plans for new National Railway Museum entrance hall‘, Architects’ Journal

March 2020, Richard Waite, ‘Feilden Fowles wins National Railway Museum’s Central Hall contest‘, Architects’ Journal

March 2020, ‘Feilden Fowles Wins National Railway Museum Central Hall Design Competition‘, Malcom Reading Consultants