YORK'S National Railway Museum has unveiled five shortlisted designs for its proposed new Central Hall.

The £16.5 million building is set to be built across Leeman Road to link the existing two sides of the museum as part of its Vision 2025 redevelopment.

The design concepts by five architectural practices were selected from 76 entries and will be available to view at a free public exhibition in the museum’s Great Hall from today (Thursday) until March 29, with the public asked to give its views by February 23.

A 'distinguished jury' will evaluate the proposals and select a winner, having considered a summary of all public comments.

A spokesman said the new hall will 'transform the arrival experience for visitors and create an appealing and compelling entrance space,' adding: "It will include a spectacular 1,000 square metre gallery to showcase innovative rail technology and the museum’s world-class railway collection."

He said that during museum opening hours, it will also provide a pedestrian route between Leeman Road and the Marble Arch pedestrian tunnel, although cyclists will need to take a diversion around the museum as agreed under planning permission.

The five teams - 6a architects (UK) and OFFICE Kersten Geers David Van Severen (Belgium), Atelier d’Architecture Philippe Prost (France), Carmody Groarke (UK), Feilden Fowles (UK) and heneghan peng architects (Ireland) - were told the building must be sensitive to the railway heritage of surrounding buildings and York, and environmentally sustainable.

Museum director Judith McNicol encouraged people to visit the exhibition and share their feedback. "Although the final designs are some way off, the winning team will go on to create the final building which will be the cultural focal point at the heart of York Central," she said.

The spokesman said that between 4.30pm and 7.30pm on Wednesday, February 26 and 2 pm to 4 pm on Saturday, March 7, visitors to the exhibition will be able to meet museum colleagues and ask questions about the designs.

He said Central Hall will open in time for the museum’s 50th anniversary in 2025 and is a key part of the museum’s £55 million ‘Vision 2025’ development.

"Vision 2025 comprises projects to transform the museum into a world-class visitor attraction which include extensive landscaping of South Yard and redisplaying the museum’s famous Great Hall," he said.

"The initiative will enable the museum to become the cultural anchor of York Central and to attract more than one million visitors each year.

"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.

"The National Railway Museum exhibition is concerned with the designs for Central Hall only and is not a part of public engagement for the York Central development."

He said the jury consisted of chair Dame Mary Archer DBE, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Science Museum Group, Sir Ian Blatchford FSA, 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, Michael Squire, Senior Partner, Squire and Partners and Malcolm Reading, Competition Director (Jury Adviser).