Wednesday February 21st, 2024
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World-Renowned OMA Redesigns Ancient Egyptian Museum in Turin

The international architectural firm is set on transforming one of the most significant ancient Egyptian museums in Europe.

Karim Abdullatif

Hosting one of the largest collections of Ancient Egyptian artefacts in the world, the ‘Museo Egizio’ in Turin is among the most significant destinations for Egyptology in Europe. International architectural firm, OMA, has recently beaten the likes of Snøhetta - the Norwegian firm behind Bibliotheca Alexandrina - in a competition to redesign the Egyptian Museum in Turin’s urban complex, Collegio dei Nobili.

Keen on instilling a ‘lucid identity’ to the museum, linking it to the city and making it a destination for all, the winning proposal uncovered two centuries worth of architectural features that connect the museum with its neighbouring urban spaces. The museum was first built in 1824 and - through countless renovations - has become detached from the city, and its adjacent courtyard and galleries.

“Our team believes that it is vital to restore the public nature of the museum and integrate it back with Turin’s public network,” David Gianotten, Managing Partner at OMA, explains in a description of the firm’s ‘Museo Egizio 2024’ vision. “By reorganising the current museum’s public areas, we’ve created the Piazza Egizia, which is a place for all kinds of activities shared between the Museo Egizio and the city.”

The ‘Piazza Egizia’ is a courtyard covered with a transparent canopy that takes after the complex’s facade and is used to collect rainwater, and provide natural ventilation and lighting. It was created along with a series of interconnected spaces within the museum which link it with Turin’s civic areas.

“It’s a double-level, multifunctional courtyard conceived as a palimpsest of Museum Egizio’s history,” Gianotten continues. “Here, the original architecture and traces of interventions over time are showcased.”

Such interventions refer to the historic openings overlooking the courtyard which had been closed since a renovation that took place in 2010. They have been restored in the design, reconnecting the public space with the city. On the first level, where the Egyptian Garden and leisure spaces are situated, the original facade of the complex was also uncovered.

Two ground openings were placed directly over the Egyptian Garden to create an abundance of lighting. The museum is covered entirely with a flooring pattern inspired by artefacts within the museum’s collection, such as Merit’s funerary mask, the lines of which have been recreated to establish visual continuity across the rooms.

The urban rooms along with the Piazza Egizia are set to be open beyond working hours. They will welcome visitors regardless of whether or not they have tickets, and will feature a selection of the museum’s artefacts on display for the general public.

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