The need for a new museum:
Although the old Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Tahrir Square, downtown Cairo has been welcoming visitors for 117 years. It is, without a doubt, a well-known and respected museum. However, there has always been a deep need for a bigger museum. The old museum was almost 27,000 square meters while the new museum is around 480,000 square meters. There are always new discoveries and the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities doesn’t have the room to hold them. As a result, the authorities had to place thousands of artifacts away in storage. In addition to the location of the museum in the congested heart of Cairo which made it hard to reach and explore. So, in order to solve all these problems, the Grand Egyptian Museum had to step in.
The huge ambition of the museum:
The objective of the design of the museum isn’t only to be a secure place to showcase Egypt’s treasures. But to help create a more immersive and enjoyable experience for visitors. According to the antiquities minister, the Grand Egyptian Museum will feature 20,000+ relics that have never been on display before. Additionally, the museum will be home to several items that belonged to King Tutankhamen that were not released since their original discovery in 1922. In total, this museum is expecting to hold and display over 100,000 different artifacts dating to a variety of periods in Egypt’s history. This would make it the largest archaeological museum in the world.
The aspirations of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture didn’t stop at creating an iconic museum on a prestigious site. Their dreams soared higher than that. The long-awaited museum is hoped to stand as a symbol of successful sustainable design for Egypt. So, the museum adopted a passive approach to building environmental design. The goal is to achieve an internal environment that is conducive to both visitors’ comfort and the preservation of irreplaceable artifacts.
A journey inside the Grand Egyptian Museum:
The entire museum’s design is set to impress. Themes of grandeur and lavishness are felt throughout the whole museum.
A glimpse from afar:
The size of the museum is 5.2 million square feet when completed. That’s why we can confidently describe it as the largest museum in the world. This automatically sends the message of greatness. The one which the ancient Egyptian civilization holds.
Getting a little bit closer:
The essence of sustainability directly appears once you get closer. Two methods isolate the Grand Egyptian Museum from solar radiation. The translucent wall of the entrance facade and the undulating metal mesh roof work to prevent conductivity between these external elements and the museum itself. According to burohappold Engineering, while the roof and facade can reach temperatures in excess of 70°C in the searing desert sun, the galleries themselves remain at around 23°C.
The museum’s translucent facade replicates and modernizes the triangular shape of the nearby pyramids. All the details of the complex planned around its triangular structure.
The parks provide an outdoor complement to the indoor museum. The architects designed the park in a manner to be re-telling the story of Egypt through the land. One of the many outdoor parks depicts Egypt’s agriculture from ancient times to the present.
When you decide to go further, you will find water features guiding you from the ticket office till you enter the museum. This addition of water features in the main courtyard creates a further feeling of cool and reflects the sustainability desired.
Diving Deep into civilization:
Going inside, you will find the colossal 3200 years old and 11m high granite statue of King Ramses II greeting you in the main atrium. Dazzling lights fall from space to fill the atmosphere of the museum with a mystery to urge you to wander around.
The approach to the museum is a series of layers. The entrance hall of the Grand Egyptian Museum is made of a latticework of stone triangles that are supported by structures made from 1,340t of MSH sections.
When you move forward and start roaming inside the museum you will experience the concept of the display. The concept is to lead the guests through a journey. This journey would be similar to Howard Carter’s when he discovered the Boy King’s tomb a century ago.
The grand staircase will be 64m-long, 24m-high, 85m-wide at the bottom and 117m-wide at the top. The designers planned to enhance the grandeur of the museum and display the artifacts in chronological order. It ascends to the plateau level, the level at which the galleries are located. This is where for the first time the visitor sees the pyramids from within the museum!
More of the Grand Egyptian Museum:
The experience of knowledge of the ancient Egyptian civilization continues throughout the whole museum. After the staircase area, you will meet up with the conference center with a thousand-seat auditorium. In addition to a theater with a 3D display with up to 250 people.
The museum will consist of a permanent 24,000m² exhibition space, five galleries hosting the complete Tutankhamen collection. Together with a solar boat, a children’s museum and a large conservation center.
The museum between hopes and threats:
Although the Grand Egyptian Museum is a remarkable feat of architecture. However, some Egyptian architects have other point of views about the main hall of the museum. The statue of Ramses II is said to be “lost in space” when compared to the scale of the hall. The inappropriate proportions of the whole has led to this. The hall is too humongous that the greatness of the statue is truly unrecognized and so undervalued. Yet, with its function, the Grand Egyptian Museum is hoped to only benefit Egypt but the whole world.