Grand museum plans take shape

02 May 2003
An international jury was convened in Cairo on 29 April to evaluate the 20 shortlisted designs for the world's largest museum, a $350 million complex which will be built in the shadow of the Great Pyramids at Giza. A technical committee set up by the Culture Ministry has spent eight months selecting the shortlist from 1,500 entries submitted by architects from around the globe. Fifteen local and international companies were also prequalified for the project management contract.

The nine-member jury, selected by the International Union of Architects, is expected to announce a winning design and two runners-up on 2 May. The successful architect will act as consultant on the project.

The Grand Egyptian Museum will be built on a 480,000-square-metre elevated site, 2.5 kilometres north of the Giza Pyramids and near the site of the Memphis necropolis. It is scheduled to open in 2006, and will be designed to receive 15,000 visitors a day. The museum will be placed under the patronage of the United Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organisation (Unesco), which has designated the surrounding area a World Heritage site (MEED 23:8:03).

The new museum will house some 100,000 artefacts to be transferred from the existing National Museum in central Cairo, including the 4,000 objects recovered from the tomb of Tutankhamun. The existing museum, built in 1902, will remain open, but will display a much smaller selection of items.

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