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

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

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