National Commercial Bank

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The desire to take advantage of the spectacular views of Jeddah and the Red Sea led to the design of this distinctive high-rise structure for the National Commercial Bank headquarters. Set in a 1.2-hectare plaza on the edge of the sea, the 27-story triangular bank is flanked by a helical parking garage. Instead of individual windows in the tower's travertine enclosure, colossal openings allow light into the interior across three landscaped courtyards.

Each of the V-shaped floors are shielded from direct sun and wind. A central wall that extends from the skylight of the first floor up through the roof allows accumulated heat to rise out of the building. In developing this form, SOM has incorporated two important features found in traditional Islamic architecture: natural ventilation and inward orientation.