The Design Of The Egyptian Museum Essay

The Design Of The Egyptian Museum Essay

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Officially inaugurated in 1902, first Egyptian state museum owes its fame not only to its unique contents, but also to its elegant architecture designed by the French architect Marcel Dourgnon in 1900, which provides a wonderful backdrop for Pharaonic antiquities. The construction of this museum cost over four times as much as the building of the combined Museum of Arab Art and Khedivial Library. (Reid, 2002).
The French architect Marcel Dourgnon’s architectural design of the Egyptian Museum was wise and simple, reminiscent of the neo-classical style, combined with Greek and Roman decorative ornaments on the façade of the museum. This classical style was definitly known as the “Beaux Arts Style” that was prevalent during this period. The Egyptian Museum was the first museum in Egypt to be designed with massive internal spaces to house large numbers of Pharaonic monuments. The building features a symmetrical and T-shaped composition along a main and perpendicular north-south axis with the Grande Galerie Centrale at its centre, accentuated by rows of arches and columns on its longitudinal sides. The Galerie d’Honneur runs perpendicular to it and parallel to the museum’s south facade. It is designed as a sequence of double-height rectangular and circular spaces from east to west, with a Rotunda in the centre, located right after the museum’s main entrance. Along each side of the Grande Galerie Centrale is a series of seven rooms, the atriums. These are double-height rooms topped by a skylight and connected by an outer and inner ring gallery on both floors, which surround the whole edifice. It seems that the proposal for this type of room, which offered a brilliant solution in terms of natural lighting, was decisive in the final choice ...


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...ity due to the absence of a system for air control. Consequently, many windows are left open, especially in the summer, to get fresh air inside the museum. This, in turn, has caused great damage to many artefacts. Missing window panes in the skylights on the roof also contribute to the deterioration of objects, in addition to allowing easy access to the museum by thieves, as proven during the recent January 2011 Revolution. The Egyptian Museum building has been classified as a protected monument under the control of the Ministry of Antiquities, due to its unique architectural style. Law 117 stipulates that in no case shall protected buildings be tampered with, except through the Islamic and Coptic Sector within the Ministry. Eventually, the Egyptian museum in Cairo still retaining its splendid and marvelous traditional architectural features and character till today.

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