Back before there was Google or Wikipedia, there was this thing called “The World Book Encyclopedia”. This bulky compendium inevitably sprawled over an entire shelf in everyone’s rumpus room in the ’60s and ’70s. The “E” book (no, not that kind of Ebook) of my particular series was quite dogeared. You see, I was fascinated by all things Egyptian – pyramids, pharaohs, mummies, tombs – it all seemed so far removed from the farmlands of North Alabama. Bolster this with a voracious TV diet of The Ten Commandments, The Mummy (Boris Karloff – not Brendon Frasier) and The villainous King Tut on Batman (Adam West – not Christian Bale) and I was in heaven (or the afterlife, as it were). It just all seemed so… unfamiliar. And when you’re a overtly creative kid living in a ranch house in the backwoods South, unfamiliar was appealing!
So when a colleague of mine invited me, my crew and a choice group of other designers on a guided trip to the Land of the Kings, I leapt (nay, vaulted) at the opportunity.
Did you ever have a place you always wanted to go and, when you finally got there as an adult, it was sorely disappointing? Egypt was definitely not that place. It stirred within me every childhood fantasy, dream and magical thought imaginable. Wandering the enormous and tattooed wonders of the ancient world with the learned and travel-dulled eye of a 53 year old architect, all I could think was this seems so… unfamiliar.
As jaded as my experiences have caused me to become, I was never so happy to be so tantalized.
Greg Tankersley for McAlpine Tankersley
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