The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) will be built by 2009–2010 at the cost of $US 550M. The museum will be sited on 50 hectares of land in Giza and is part of a new master plan for the plateau. On January 5, 2002 Egyptian President Mubarak laid the foundation stone. The museum site is two kilometers from the Giza pyramids.
The design of the building was decided by means of an architectural competition. The competition was announced on the January 7, 2002. The organisers received 1557 entries from 82 countries, making it the largest architectural competition in history. In the second stage of the competition, 20 entries were asked to submit additional information. Judging was complete by June 2, 2003. The competition was won by the company Heneghan Peng from Dublin, Ireland, winning 250,000 dollars. Second place was awarded to Coop Himmelblau. The building is designed by Heneghan Peng Architects, Buro Happold and Arup. The exhibition masterplan and exhibition design is by Metaphor Limited with museology by Cultural Innovations.
The building is shaped like a chamfered triangle in plan. It sits on a site two kilometers west of the pyramids, near a motorway interchange. The buildings north and south walls line up directly with the Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Menkaure. In front of the building is a large plaza, filled with date plants. One of the main features of the Museum is the translucent stone wall, made of alabaster, that makes up the front facade of the building. Inside the main entrance is a large atrium, where large statues will be exhibited.
On August 25, 2006 the Statue of Ramesses II was moved from Ramses Square in Cairo to the Giza Plateau, in anticipation of construction of the GEM. The Statue of Ramesses II, estimated to be approximately 3,200 years old, will be cleaned and touched up, and will be situated at the entrance of the GEM by 2010.