A YORK museum has launched a competition to design a new £16.5 million building to "showcase the future of rail engineering".

The National Railway Museum (NRM) is looking for an architect to plan the ambitious new site as part of its £55 million 'Vision 2025' masterplan.

It wants to create a 4,500 square-metre Central Hall to connect the existing Great Hall and Station Hall buildings and provide additional capacity to welcome up to 1.2 million visitors annually.

The masterplan comprises eight projects which the NRM hopes will make it into a world class visitor attraction.

And museum chiefs say the scheme is poised to become the anchor of the wider York Central development, one of the largest city centre brownfield regeneration projects in the UK.

In 2018-19, the museum welcomed 782,000 visitors and the new development will expand available gallery space and improve accessibility.

Bosses say the new building will include a 1,000 square-metre new gallery which will house future acquisitions and innovative technology with a focus on the modern rail industry.

Judith McNicol, director of the NRM, said: “It’s hard to overstate the importance of the Central Hall to our future.

"It will unify our site, sensitively connecting historic railway buildings and providing a stunning new welcome to our visitors.”

The building is set to be complete in 2025, 50 years after the museum first opened and 200 years since the opening of the Stockton and Darlington Railway.

The museum is working with architectural competition specialists, Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC), which has global experience in cultural development projects.

The competition is open to international integrated design teams that include architects, structural, civil and services engineers.

The first stage deadline is October 16, 2019.

After initial expressions of interest, at least five shortlisted teams will move on to stage two, where they will produce design concepts for the new building.

As part of a wide-ranging public engagement process, the NRM will hold an exhibition of designs in February 2020.

The winner is expected to be announced in March 2020.

Competition director, Malcolm Reading, said: “It is an opportunity to create an outstanding piece of architecture that speaks to the adjoining galleries and the wider regeneration of York Central.”

For more details about the competition visit: https://competitions.malcolmreading.com/railwaymuseum/