Egypt, Cairo

- 2002

Design Team

Jordan Parnass, Greg Merryweather, Andrew Zelmer, Priscilla Ip, Ayvind Karlsen, Daisy Houang

Situated within view of the great pyramids of Giza and charged with the responsibility of caring for some of the world’s most precious artifacts, the Grand Egyptian Museum is a unified structure containing exhibitions, research labs, and a conference center.

A glass façade and a monolithic bearing wall create the primary image of the museum. On the northern side of the wall protecting the main galleries is a double layer glass curtain wall, within which are brise-soleils and vertical circulation routes. Stainless steel-clad modules housing administrative functions protrude from the south side of the wall.

Natural light is allowed to pass through the front façade and central atrium, providing an orientation focus for visitors and offering refreshing contrast to low-light spaces. The use of glass also blurs the boundary between some interior and exterior spaces.

Delicate artifacts that are especially sensitive to light are displayed in spaces designated for low light conditions. Light controlled spaces are located within the retaining wall and in enclosures on main gallery ramps.

The architectural promenade systematically intersects each theme and connects chronological arrangements. This tactic creates a rhythm of thematic events as the visitor moves from dynasty to dynasty through history.

A network of connectors, stairs, elevators and platforms facilitate hypertextual routes, allowing viewers to quickly move between themes and jump chronologically using physical connectors. Themes are organized as spatial envelopes, encompassing vertical and horizontal volumes. Visitors encounter multiple themes along any segment of ramp.

Upon arrival, individuals or groups may select an itinerary to guide them through a network of exhibits. Visitors are recognized as being unique with an individual set of preferences and interests. A virtual guide uses the visitors’ profiles coupled with itinerary generation technology to determine a route. Visitors may also choose short, medium and long routes.

Floor cutouts offer a visual connection while accommodating tall artifacts. Visual connections can be made across ramps and to other floors, and beyond to the surrounding landscape.