Skidmore Owings & Merrill, Gordon Bunshaft National Commercial Bank, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Section) 1977

  • Not on view

This building’s startling section view is the result of its ingenious organization of space. In plan, the tower is an equilateral triangle for its entire height, divided vertically into three successive increments of seven, nine, and seven floors. The giant scale of the loggias overwhelms the monotonous plaidlike window grids of surrounding buildings and makes the tower identifiable for miles around, even though it is only twenty-eight stories high. Nothing could be more Western than a skyscraper, but Bunshaft’s rethinking of the structure for this site in Saudi Arabia has resulted in a promising new type. Rather than having superficial branding such as signage give the building its identity, space itself is the generator of recognition. In a culture of consumption based on trademarks, Bunshaft demonstrates that architecture is capable of producing meaning through its most essential features.

Gallery label from 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design, September 12, 2012–March 25, 2013.
Ink on tracing paper
29 3/4 x 39 3/4" (75.6 x 101 cm)
Gift of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill
Object number
Architecture and Design

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].