Recipient of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 2001.
The Nubian Museum celebrates the culture and civilization of the Nubian region of Egypt from prehistoric times to the present. It is located in the city of Aswan, on the eastern bank of the Nile, 899 kilometres south of Cairo. The museum is
a three-storey building with an outdoor exhibition area. It houses the main finds of the UNESCO salvage campaign carried out at the time of the building of the High Dam, which eventually flooded that whole region. Another major exhibit is a diorama which shows the daily life of Nubian villagers. It is a community museum with an education section that organizes trips, lectures and workshops for schoolchildren, and cultural events for the public at large. In April 2000 the museum was approved by UNESCO as a centre for museology and the preservation and conservation of archaeological remains for Africa and the Middle East.
The total area of the museum is 10,110 square metres, with a ground-floor area of 7,000 square metres on a 50,000-square-metre site. The project is in two sections: the museum building, which is in one volume, and the landscaped outdoor exhibition. The building comprises three storeys.
On the ground floor are the main entrance hall; shops; the temporary exhibition hall; VIP lounge and associated service areas; a 150-seat lecture theatre with three translation booths; public toilets; security and administration offices; staff living quarters and facilities area; and lifts for visitors, staff and services.
On the first floor are the cafeteria (with a kitchen service); the library; administration offices and meeting room.
At basement level are the main exhibition space of the museum, measuring 3,500 square metres, and the diorama; the education section with its own entrance from the garden and reception area, workshop, classroom, servery and dining area, children's toilets and outside theatre; the restoration studios, comprising five laboratories - papyrus and fabric, organic, metal, inorganic, and a fumigation lab - as well as other facilities; the main storage areas; exhibition workshops; and the service yard with generator room, air-conditioning units, electrical room, boiler and loading platform.
The outdoor exhibition area includes a cave housing prehistoric drawings of animals; a Nubian house; an outdoor theatre for five hundred people; various exhibition pieces; two shrines - the maqqam of Saida Zeinab and the maqqam of the 77 Walis; one musalla (place of prayer) - Qubat Al-Mukhasal; and several graves, said to be Fatimid, Roman and Coptic in origin. A water canal represents the River Nile, surrounded by local flora and fauna.