The Great Egyptian Museum: the contemporary architecture as an argument for the repatriation of collections

The Great Egyptian Museum: the contemporary architecture as an argument for the repatriation of collections

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The Great Egyptian Museum (GME) can be considered a “pharaonic” architecture located on the outskirts of the Giza Pyramids. The idea of ​​building a Great Museum for Egyptology, which occupies an internal area of ​​90,000m², derives from discussions started in the mid-1990s. In 2002, the Irish office Heneghan Peng Architects won an international architecture competition that included more than 1,500 proposals from architects around the world. Commonly called as "the fourth pyramid of Giza", the GME´s construction started in 2005 and now is almost completed. The built of this mega museum structure aims to contribute to Egypt's unique positioning as a first-class tourist destination as a global culture center. Furthermore, the GME must also be considered within a big strategy of building and renovating of nineteen museums in Egypt
that includes, for example, the projects of the Nubian Museum in Aswan and the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization. This strategy was undertaken by the worldwide famous archaeologist Zahi Hawass, then Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt. The construction of a mega museum architecture has been mobilized as an important argument for requesting the repatriation of Egyptian collections illegally removed from the country. Since 2010, Egypt has expressed interest at the returning (or at least for the loaning) of some arqueological antiques such as the Bust of Nefertiti and the Rosetta´s Stone. Even without being successful in these international negotiations, the architectural design assumes proeminence for questioning one of the main arguments used to deny the repatriation of collections: the lack of infrastructure for safeguarding and researching collections. The GME suggests the reflection about new challenges between global-local cultures that emerge in contemporaneity.

Corresponding Author

Bianca Manzon Lupo

University of São Paulo

Author #1:

Bianca Manzon Lupo

University of São Paulo - Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo

Author #2:

Aline de Souza Maia

University of Mogi das Cruzes

Author #3:

Author #4:

Preferred Track

9. The Syndrome of Grand Projects: contamination processes between North-South, West-East, Global-Local

Second Preferred Track

2. Starchitecture

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