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Shortlist announced for National Railway Museum Central Hall Design Competition

  • Five teams chosen to create design concepts for new Central Hall
  • Seventy-six teams from 19 countries entered the open two-stage competition
  • Jury will be chaired by Dame Mary Archer DBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Science Museum Group

The National Railway Museum and Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) today [14 November 2019] announced the five teams shortlisted in the competition to design the museum’s new emblematic Central Hall, which forms part of the museum’s strategy to become the ‘World’s Railway Museum’ by 2025.

The 4,500 sqm Central Hall will bridge the space between the National Railway Museum’s two main exhibition halls, integrating the museum estate for the first time in its history and creating an appealing and compelling arrival experience.

The new building, which has a £16.5 million construction budget, will also include reception spaces, as well as a spectacular 1,000 sqm gallery intended to showcase future acquisitions and innovative technology and introduce the museum’s world-class collection.

Together with the museum’s other Vision 2025 projects, including the new Wonderlab, the Central Hall will enable the museum to renew its physical presence and identity and be the cultural anchor for York Central, one of the largest city centre brownfield regeneration projects in the UK.

The open two-stage competition welcomed both national and international integrated design teams, with competitors encouraged to demonstrate exceptional design talent, creative flair, sensitivity to the heritage context and expertise in sustainability. Seventy-six teams from 19 countries comprising 241 firms entered the competition’s first stage.

The shortlisted teams are (in alphabetical order):

  • 6a architects (UK) and OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Belgium)
  • Atelier d’Architecture Philippe Prost (France)
  • Carmody Groarke (UK)
  • Feilden Fowles (UK)
  • heneghan peng architects (Ireland)

Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said:

‘Announcing the shortlist for Central Hall marks an important milestone in the realisation of Vision 2025 — our exciting and ambitious £55m plan to transform and reimagine the National Railway Museum. I am looking forward to seeing the design concepts and sharing these with our visitors and the communities around us.’

Karen Livingstone, Science Museum Group Director of Masterplan and Estate, said:

‘We were delighted and impressed by the strongly international response to the design competition. The shortlist is a refreshing, highly original list of accomplished studios known for their flair with cultural projects and we await with interest how they will respond to our brief in the second stage.’

Malcolm Reading, Competition Director, said:

‘The National Railway Museum is focused on bringing exceptional architecture to this site and creating an engaging and inspiring experience from the moment the visitor approaches the museum.

‘This is a very encouraging moment for architecture in the UK: a diverse set of exemplary small to medium-sized practices given the opportunity to compete for a commission that will be emblematic for this national museum and York itself.’

The five finalists will attend a site visit in November 2019 and will have three months to develop their design concepts, which will be displayed in a public exhibition in February 2020. The winner is expected to be announced in March 2020.

The teams were selected by a Shortlisting Panel led by Dame Mary Archer DBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Science Museum Group. No design was sought at the competition’s first stage — competitors made submissions based on past experience and team composition.

Each finalist team that submits a compliant design concept will receive a £30,000 honorarium at the conclusion of the competition.

Details of the competition jury were also released:

  • Dame Mary Archer DBE, (Chair), Chair of the Board of Trustees, Science Museum Group
  • Sir Ian Blatchford, Director and Chief Executive, Science Museum Group
  • Gitta Gschwendtner, Director, Gitta Gschwendtner Design Consultancy
  • Zoe Laughlin, Director, Institute of Making
  • Karen Livingstone, Director of Masterplan and Estate, Science Museum Group
  • Judith McNicol, Director, National Railway Museum
  • Malcolm Reading, Competition Director

The National Railway Museum is ranked amongst the most popular attractions in the UK and welcomed 782,000 visitors in 2018-19. Located at the centre of York, the museum sits within a larger industrial site that was originally developed in the mid- to late-19th century by the North Eastern Railway Company. Surrounded by the remnants of this industry, the museum is today dominated by railway heritage and infrastructure.

However, York Central — a 45-hectare redevelopment comprising of a series of new city centre residential and business neighbourhoods — will transform the surrounding disused railway estate. This wider regeneration, which is expected to give a £1bn+ boost to the local economy, has already achieved outline planning consent, including an envelope for the new Central Hall.

The museum’s redevelopment will be completed in 2025, exactly 50 years after it first opened. The new Central Hall, along with the museum’s other strategic Vision 2025 initiatives, will enable the museum to welcome an estimated 1.2 million visitors annually.

The competition is being organised by independent specialists Malcolm Reading Consultants and is being run in accordance with EU procurement guidelines and the UK Public Contracts Regulations 2015.

For further updates please follow the competition website.

Notes to Editors

Shortlisted Teams

6a architects and OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen

6a architects and OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen will collaborate on the competition for the new Central Hall at the National Railway Museum in York, joined by Price & Myers, Ritchie + Daffin and MSAFE.

The architects, based in London and Brussels, are two of Europe’s leading voices in contemporary architecture and teaching. 6a is best known for its contemporary art galleries, educational buildings and artists’ studios, and earlier this year completed the major expansion of MK Gallery in Milton Keynes. 6a’s Photography Studio for Juergen Teller was nominated for the RIBA Stirling Prize in 2017.

OFFICE has established a reputation as one of Belgium’s most successful and renowned practices and one of the world’s truly original voices in present-day architecture. Among their most influential work is Solo House, Spain, Traditional Music Centre, Bahrain and the headquarters of Swiss Radio and Television Company in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Atelier d’Architecture Philippe Prost

Atelier d’Architecture Philippe Prost (AAPP) is a prestigious architectural practice in Paris specialising in historical monuments. After having dedicated himself to architectural research for ten years, Philippe Prost was called for help in 1991 on a 15-year adventure at the citadel of Belle-Ile-en-Mer. Since then he has gathered a team of about fifteen architects with a strong commitment to quality. They provide, from building conception to completion, sensitive restoration schemes and bold contemporary design in historic contexts.

The main qualities of their work are a deep historic heritage knowledge, brief and context appraisal skills, a constructive and sustainable build design, and finally a regular monitoring of the building site. The notions of memory and context are the basis of all the projects they carry out, on a wide range of scales of project.

Philippe Prost teams up with Urban Fabric Architects, Price & Myers, Skelly & Couch.

Carmody Groake

Carmody Groarke, Arup, and Max Fordham are delighted to be shortlisted for the National Railway Museum Central Hall Project.

Carmody Groarke is a London-based architectural practice founded in 2006 by Kevin Carmody and Andy Groarke. The practice has developed a strong reputation for working internationally on a wide range of arts, cultural and heritage projects.

Carmody Groarke have designed critically acclaimed buildings including Windermere Jetty Museum, the Hill House Box and Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre Clatterbridge. The studio’s clients include The National Trust for Scotland, the BFI and the Royal Academy of Arts. Current projects include a new gallery for the Museum of Science and Industry, an extension to the Design Museum Gent and a new international arts venue at Park Hill, Sheffield.

The practice has earned international recognition, winning several architectural competitions and awards.

Feilden Fowles

Feilden Fowles is thrilled to have been shortlisted for this nationally significant scheme which builds upon an incredible collection, offer and our team’s passions and experience working in museums and galleries across Yorkshire. Central Hall is both a tremendous challenge and provides a unique opportunity to create a new face and connected experience for the museum. Our team will rise to this challenge and design a new arrival experience which inspires wonder and transforms this exceptional museum so close to the heart of York.

As a young and dynamic team, we bring energy, the highest design standards and a desire to listen closely to the needs of everyone involved.

heneghan peng architects

heneghan peng architects are a design-based practice who have produced award-winning designs that are both iconic and subtle, often in historic urban areas or sensitive contexts. The practice was founded by Shih-Fu Peng and Róisín Heneghan in New York in 1999 and in 2001 relocated to Ireland. We take a multi-disciplinary approach to design and have collaborated with many leading designers and engineers on a range of projects which include large scale urban master plans, bridges, landscapes and buildings.

We have won competitions and carried out projects in four world heritage sites, including the Grand Museum of Egypt in Giza, the Giant’s Causeway Visitors’ Centre on the Antrim coast, the Stockwell Street building at the University of Greenwich in Maritime Greenwich, and the Mittelrheinbrucke in the Rhine Valley. The practice has recently been awarded the 2019 Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the Palestinian Museum in Birzeit.

About the National Railway Museum

The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts more than 750,000 visitors per year. The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals, as well as railway uniforms, equipment, documents, artwork and photographs.

The museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in Shildon. Admission to the National Railway Museum is free.

About Malcolm Reading Consultants

Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC) is a strategic architectural consultancy that helps clients to imagine and define contemporary environments; MRC is the leading global specialist in devising and managing international design competitions.

Since 1996, we have developed an extensive global network of contacts, an outstanding portfolio of completed projects, and an international reputation for fairness and transparency. MRC believes in the power of design to act as an inspiration.

Recent work includes competitions for the Houston Endowment (US); MK:U (UK); the Powerhouse Precinct at Parramatta (Australia); the Cambridge to Oxford Connection (UK); University College Dublin (Ireland); Gallaudet University (Washington, D.C., US); Kaunas M.K. Čiurlionis Concert Centre (Lithuania); the Royal College of Art (UK); the V&A (UK); the Mumbai City Museum (India); and new buildings for the UK’s New College, Oxford and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge.