An edifice worthy of the pharaohs rises next to the pyramids


Excerpt from: The Art News Paper,  30 August 2016


The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), a gateway to the history of the pharaohs under construction outside Cairo, is attempting to do the impossible: hold its own next to the pyramids of Giza.

Egypt’s ministry of antiquities hopes the gargantuan complex, designed by architects Heneghan Peng, will be built by the end of 2016, paving the way for a 2017 “partial opening”, according to Daily News Egypt. But with between 3,000 and 5,000 construction workers already labouring around the clock and a budget rising to more than $1bn, museum management and the ministry will have their work cut out to meet the official 2018 deadline.

The GEM, announced by the Egyptian government in 1992 and originally scheduled to open in 2011, is poised to become one of the world’s largest museums. The 100,000-strong collection will include around 5,500 artefacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun, many of which have never been exhibited.

Tourist magnet?

With 93,000 sq. m of exhibition space, the GEM is designed to offer more room and better conditions for conservation than the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square, Cairo, which has held the Tutankhamun collection for more than 80 years. A vast gallery will be entirely dedicated to the trove, according to the architect Pier Paolo Raffa, a consultant on the displays. Most of the other works in the collection are also coming from the Egyptian Museum, but the GEM plans to integrate artefacts from other museums and sites across the country.