There is no doubting the strength and magnitude of the earliest Egyptian industrial feats. The Pyramids still stand as some of the most iconic and significant feats of engineering and architecture, setting the foundations and blueprints for future generations of industry.
It should come as no surprise then that when the call went out to design a new modern icon for the city of Giza in Egypt, it piqued the interest of many. In fact, no less an authority than the World Architecture News labeled the call for submissions the world’s largest architecture competition.
Architects who submitted designs were vying for the chance to design the new Grand Egyptian Museum. Set to host some of the world’s most recognizable and prized relics, the new museum will stand among some of the world’s most iconic architectural feats.
As daunting as that may seem, the competition attracted 1,557 designs, with architectural firm Henehgan Peng Architects delivering the winning design.
“The jury highly appreciated the simple elegance and the refined expressive qualities of the project, together with its functional clarity,” reads the jury citation. “The poetic statement of the project is extremely strong while retaining a delicate and discreet approach to the site and to the architectural programme.”
Set to be built on the edge of the first desert plateau between the pyramids and Cairo, the building’s structural form will create a new plateau edge out of responsive translucent stone.
While plans show that the front façade of the building gives an obvious nod towards the pyramids, with its stacked triangular etched shapes – three of which are 3-D – the actual building is expected to take a fan-like shape.
As with the traditional Egyptian works, the museum will be built on a super-sized scale, encompassing 100,000 square metres. The permanent exhibition space will cover 24,000 of those square metres. While looking at collections of Tutankhamen and – reportedly – the tomb of Queen Meresankh III, visitors will be able to get a full view of the pyramids from inside the space.
In addition to the exhibition space, a children’s museum, conference space, a conservation centre, educational facilities and extensive garden areas will also be developed. The icon is still under construction, with an expected 2014 completion date.
With such a rich and illustrious industry heritage and an impressive potential future, the designers and developers will have large shoes to fill in creating this building. Through its contextualisation to both its built and natural environments though, many in the architecture industry expect success.