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Engaging with the desert was our objective

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It was interesting - and rather surprising - to see the number of shortlisted entries in the Grand Egyptian Museum competition (AJ 12.6.03), including the winner, that were for large, single buildings set into the site.

For our entry, while orienting major elements towards the site's principal views - downtown Cairo and the pyramids - we also attempted to create an architecture that engaged with the desert itself. Elements of the museum emerge from, and dissolve into, the desert in a kind of architectural choreography. This not only enables all the main elements of this vast museum to benefit from daylight and cross winds, interspersed with landscaping, but it also reflects the origins of much of the collection, made for, deposited into and excavated from, the sands of Egypt.

Alan Power, Alan Power Architects, London

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