The Egyptian Museum in Turin, the world’s oldest museum entirely dedicated to ancient Egyptian culture, will undergo an ambitious renovation next year to mark its 200th anniversary.
The project, overseen by Dutch studio Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) will involve the transformation of the courtyard at heart of the Baroque-era Collegio dei Nobili, which houses the museum. The new space, covered by a glass and steel roof, will expand the space available to the museum by 975m, with the court becoming a “nerve centre” divided across two floors. The work is expected to cost a total of €23m.
Founded in 1824, the Museo Egizio currently displays 12,000 objects and is generally considered the world’s second most important museum of Egyptian archaeology, after the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.
The court, which will be accessible without a ticket, has been dubbed “Piazza Egizia”, with the aim being to make the museum more accessible to the public. It will feature an Egyptian garden complete with shrubbery and trees, as well as a new cafeteria, ticket office and info point, and a multimedia room where wall projections will transport visitors back in time to ancient Egypt.
“OMA’s architectural project is based on a new vision of a museum: one that is more articulated and multiform, a place of research and inclusivity,” said Evelina Christillin and Christian Greco, the museum’s president and director respectively, in a joint statement. “The idea of covering the courtyard stems from the desire to create a new agora that will be returned to the collectivity.”
The new space will also allow for free access to the Temple of Ellesyia, which Egypt donated to the museum in the 1960s after the structure was saved, via an Unesco campaign, from being submerged by Lake Nasser in southern Egypt and northern Sudan. The Gallery of the Kings, where numerous ancient sculptures are displayed, will also be made free to visit. It will be connected to the Collegio’s entrances in Via Accademia and Via Duse, allowing for the flow of visitors towards the museum.
The redevelopment is expected to begin next March, with the first part completing in October 2024. It is being led by OMA architects David Gianotten and Andreas Karavanas.
Of the €23m budget, €5m has been provided by Italy’s culture ministry, with the rest coming from the museum’s founding partners, among them the Region of Piedmont, the City of Turin, and the Compagnia di San Paolo and Fondazione CRT bank foundations. Funding has also been provided by half a dozen private sponsors including the Intesa Sanpaolo bank as coffee manufacturer Lavazza, a museum spokesperson told The Art Newspaper.