Little-known Dublin practice Heneghan.Peng.Architects (HPA)has won the long-awaited competition for a £350 million museum of antiquities next to the pyramids in Giza. The office saw off competition from 1,557 practices in 83 countries competing for the US$250,000 Grand Egyptian Museum prize, including a host of high-profile Brits.The 113 UK-based practices known to have entered included Will Alsop Architects, Future Systems, Zaha Hadid Architects, Aedas AHR with QUAD Design and 51% Studio.
HPA's winning design (pictured above and right) - developed in conjunction with British engineer Arup - is for a 'desert-hugging'38,000m 2centre with a roofline reflecting the three 4,000-year-old pyramids on the horizon. The project will also contain a cultural complex devoted to the study of Egyptology, including library, conferencing and multimedia facilities. It is designed to sit on three visual axes - each pointing to one of the three pyramids - with its main structural lines tracing these visual lines.
The museum will replace the existing 1903 Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which can only hold 5,000 exhibits, leaving the vast majority of the government's 100,000-item collection in storage. The brief demanded that the project - which it is estimated will attract up to 30 million tourists a year - should include state-of-the-art computers, communications and modern facilities for the preservation of ancient artefacts.
The competition jury included an array of international stars, including last year's Royal Gold Medalist Peter Cook.