Howard Hughes' Suma Corporation
was competing with a number of international contracting firms for the development rights to the 20,000 hectares surrounding
the Giza Plateau and the great Pyramids, one of the great wonders of the world. In
return for a winning concept, assembling an international team of experts, project financing of the infrastructure, and master
planning of the overall development, the Egyptian government would donate 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) as its part of the
The Doultons were retained
to provide the winning project. They had less than two months to assemble a team,
make a site visit, conduct basic research, prepare schematic engineering drawings and orders of magnitude cost estimates,
and produce a presentation to be given personally to President Anwar Sadat.
To help realize their vision
for building a fourth pyramid in golden glass as the location for a new national museum, they retained the creative genius
of John DeCuir, Sr. John was a seven-time Academy Award winning production designer,
whose work included the most costly film up to that time “Cleopatra” starring Elizabeth Taylor and Rex Harrison.
With the help of structural
engineers Johnson and Nielsen, Alcoa Aluminum and others, innovative technical designs
were created that were no less state-of-the-art as the original pyramids. To minimize
vertical suports JN devised a revoluantry hanging floor structure. The first high speed "inclinator" was created to move passengers
from each of the Pyramids four corners. Alcoa's energy efficient concept for sandwiching foam insulation between
the gold glass exterior and aluminum panels interior was another "first" of its time.
The deadline was well met, the presentation made, the prize won.
The story was televised as a 20-minute segment on ABC Weekend World. Suma
and its partners formed a joint venture with a third party, to the financial benefit of all.
The Doultons were then offered
a deal they could not refuse, to assess, analyze and improve the attractions which existed along the Nile River. Thus began a five year odyssey traveling the portion of the Nile which lies within Egypt and making recommendations
along the way.