Register: 09/22/2017, Submit: 10/06/2017, Eligibility: Architecture students, graduate degree students, recent graduates, those who have graduated 2 years before of the competition, young architects; individually, teams up to 4 members, Fee: 50 € individual, 75 € team (05/24 – 06/30/2017), 75 € individual, 100 € team (07/01 – 09/22/2017), Awards: 1st Prize 3,750 €, 2nd Prize 1,500 €, 3rd Prize 625 €, Arquideas Special Prize 500 €, up to 5 Honorable Mentions
With more than 6,800 km, the Nile is the longest river in Africa and for centuries it was considered to be the longest in the world. Located in the north-eastern part of the continent, it crosses 11 countries and has two major tributaries: the White Nile, which originates in Uganda and Kenya, named for the chalky colour of the sediment in its waters; and the Blue Nile, which originates in Ethiopia and is the source of most of the water in the river.
These two tributaries come together at the Sudanese capital city of Khartoum and begins to flow north through the desert. This is where the river’s characteristic image can be observed, as the desert sands combine with vegetation along the banks to produce a highly contrasted landscape.
It then passes through Nubia, an extensive region in which the Nile jumps from cataract to cataract, before arriving in Egypt in the middle of a large valley, reaching Aswan, thought to be the birthplace of Egyptian civilization.
It is in Aswan where the annual Nile floods began, making it the most fertile region of the Nile and the reason Egypt prospered. The annual flood began at the end of May, causing the level of the river to rise rapidly until August; in October it began to descend, reaching its lowest level in May. The water came mostly from the Blue Nile thanks to the heavy rains that occur in the mountains of Ethiopia, which provided a rich silt that was transported by the water and deposited on the fields of Egypt, fertilizing the soil and guaranteeing the harvests.
The ancient Egyptians only settled on the final 1,300 km of the Nile, where it was possible to navigate the waters.
The majority of society in the Egypt of the pharaohs was made up of peasants who worked the fields and therefore their lives were conditioned by the flood cycles. They were able to cultivate wheat, barley and flax, and also obtain fish and papyrus thanks to the river, thereby obtaining enough food to for the entire population. With flax and wheat, Egypt was able to maintain good diplomatic relations with other countries, and so the river contributed to the economic and political stability of the country.
Without the Nile the ancient Egyptian empire would never have existed. The Egyptians were keenly aware of the great river’s importance, regarding it as the creator of the fertile lands on which they lived and even worshipped a god, named Hapi, who represented the Nile.
Because the sun set every evening in the West, symbolizing death, and was reborn every morning in the East, representing life and resurrection, the cities and towns were always built on the eastern shore of the Nile and the necropolises and funeral temples on the western shore.
The predominant building materials used in ancient Egypt were adobe, used in homes and monumental buildings, and limestone, reserved for tombs and temples. Our understanding of Egyptian architecture is mainly based on its religious monuments, massive structures with slightly sloping walls and few openings, a method of construction used to obtain stability in mud walls.
The annual Nile floods marked the rhythm of life of its inhabitants for millennia, until the construction of the great Aswan dam in 1970 eliminated the annual flood cycle for good.
After passing through Aswan the Nile begins to shrink as it continues its journey through dams toward Luxor, a region that contains the majority of the cultural and historical sites, including the most spectacular monuments in Egypt, many of which have been declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. The section of the river between Aswan and Luxor is where the majority of tourism is concentrated, mostly on board cruise ships, with more than 300 floating hotels and thousands of tourists disembarking on its shores every day to visit the different monuments.
Finally, after passing through Cairo the river ends in the Nile Delta and the mythical city of Alexandria, where it flows into the Mediterranean.
The objective of this competition for architecture students and young architects, Museum of the Ancient Nile (MoAN) Egypt, consists in conceiving of a museum that will submerge visitors in the ancient Nile and become an essential experience for tourists who wish to comprehend how Egyptian civilization proliferated.
Thanks to its privileged location, the proposed space will become an obligatory stop for people visiting the river, as a preamble to the history, mythology and monuments that the region contains. A global focal point for tourism that is capable of transmitting the importance of the ancient Nile for the history of Humanity.
The architecture must provide adequate solutions for the program of uses, paying special attention to sustainability and integration in the setting where it is located.
The MoAN will provide an exhibition space that is a reference point for the Nile, integrated into the landscape and offering visitors a singular experience.
The project can be freely developed anywhere within the proposed area, leaving it to the participants to find a balance between the suggested uses and the setting of its location.
The proposal of each participant or participating group should define the uses and dimensions considered necessary to meet the needs of the estimated number of visitors and the idea of the project.
The following are some proposed uses:
- Permanent exhibition hall
- Temporary exhibition hall
- Audiovisual room
- Conference room
- Interactive room
These uses can be modified or omitted in accordance to the approach developed by each participant.
MoAN will be located between Aswan and Luxor, so that it can be on the itinerary of the majority of routes.
The project can be freely developed within the area indicated on the attached graphic documentation. There are no pre-established criteria for how the land is to be occupied, giving each participant or team free rein to develop their vision as they see fit.