2 X : t h e K I N G D O M O F S O U L S
Great Egyptian Museum
Competition entry for a national art and history museum
1,100,000 sf, Giza, Egypt
Located only 2 km from the Great Pyramids of Giza the site for an international competition for design of a new national art and history museum offered dramatic views of the world’s oldest and most famous structures. The program called for organizing the building into five different thematic galleries of the nation’s most valuable antiquities and artworks.
Our solution arranges highly versatile galleries into pairs of alternating enclosed exhibition and outdoor sculpture courtyard space interconnected by circulation tubes that allow the collections to be viewed through “itineraries” by individual theme or altogether chronologically. A curved entry “tent” of overlapping shells receives visitors and tourist busses, leading through a security and service hall to embarkation options for the galleries above.
Reached beneath the “Delta Waters” reflecting pool, a grand stair flanked by platform elevators and waterfalls symbolizing the Nile cataracts elevates visitors to the collections lobby with direct views of the Pyramids. Or they can reach the same destination via a tram that follows an elliptical track into the escarpment and through outdoor gardens surrounding a symbolic “Lake Victoria”, the source of the Nile.
The curvilinear tent and tram route represent the Nile “Lotus” and the multi-layered museum structure represents “Papyrus”, symbols for the Lower and Upper Nile, the union of which produced the kingdoms of the Pharaohs and the great civilization of ancient Egypt. Daylighting, water recycling, and night ventilation serve as key strategies for energy conservation.