Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has announced that work has started on the third phase of the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) at a cost of about $300m and is set to be completed by 2015.
The EGP5bn ($828m) project is being built on 117 acres of land on the outskirts of Cairo, located on the Cairo-Alexandria highway overlooking the Pyramids of Giza. The new museum has been designed by Heneghan Peng Architects, which was selected through an architectural competition in 2002.
The front part of the museum will be a stone wall constructed out of alabaster, facing a large plaza, and the building will have a 32,000m2 floor area hosting exhibition galleries, a children’s museum, and virtual and large format screens. In addition, the building will have separate exhibition space, and conservation and conference centres. It will also incorporate a 1,000-seat auditorium, three 250-seat seminar rooms, gallery space, meeting rooms, a business centre and press rooms.
A joint venture between Egypt’s Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) and the Belgian BESIX Group won a $810m contract to carry out the third phase of the project.
After completion the museum will showcase about 100,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts in the main exhibition hall, with large parts of the building dedicated to outdoor activities in the open-air space that includes the Piazza, Dunal Park, Nile Park, Recreational Park, Temple Garden and Land of Egypt Park.
Several store houses, a power station as well as a firefighting unit were constructed during the second phase of the development. The museum project is 65% funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), with the remainder from local and international grants and the Egyptian Government.