Friday, January 07, 2011

More re repairs to Pyramid of Djoser

BBC News (Neil Prior)

If you had your Cardiff council house repaired in the early 80s, then the odds are that the work would have been inspected by the same man who has now been tasked with saving Egypt's oldest stone-built pyramid.

Newport-based structural engineer Peter James is a self-made millionaire, and a man accustomed to leaps of faith, yet even he describes his current mission as "the scariest thing I've ever done in my life."

The Pyramid of Djoser in the Saqqara necropolis is 4,700 years old, but suffered severe damage in a 1992 earthquake.

It is key to our understanding of ancient Egyptian architecture, but is now so unstable that no-one has accepted the challenge of securing it in the last 19 years. Except, of course, Peter James.

A former Royal Navy lieutenant-commander who served in the Falklands War, Mr James' involvement with structural engineering began when he took charge of building services for Cardiff council.

Twenty-five years ago he set up his own company, graduating from housing repairs, to developing solutions to rescue poorly-designed 1960s tower blocks.

His big break came when his company, Cintec, won the contract to repair Windsor Castle following extensive damage caused by the 1993 fire.

Amongst other notable renovation work he has been involved in are the White House, Buckingham Palace, and even the Red Pyramid near Giza.

No comments: