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Grand Egyptian Museum


Cairo
2002
Central to the design of the new Grand Egyptian Museum is an architectural paradox: How does one create architecture where the context is at once overwhelming and non-existent. Placing 850,000 SM of space a stone’s throw from the Egyptian Pyramids on a site that is neither urban nor desert is a daunting and challenging task. Formal competition with the pyramids is a doomed and immature exercise that raises their historic status too prominently. But meek subservience to the pyramids is a disservice to both the glorious objects to be displayed and to the pyramids themselves.

To that end our scheme breaks up the building around a complex set of courtyards and plazas that at once create an internal order or “new context” from which to view the city, the desert and of course the pyramids. Simple forms are made complex by formal manipulation in response to use, context, itinerary, and slope to create a hierarchy of places consistent with use and scaled to the site and exhibits.