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Architecture — ICI House

ICI House was one of the first fully glazed commercial skyscrapers in Australia. Opened in 1958, it was Australia's tallest office building — a title it retained until 1961. The clear blue building broke the city's 132-foot height limit, leading to a surge skywards in Melbourne's city buildings.

Construction of significant buildings in the city halted during World War Two, due to restrictions on materials and government controls on building size. The wartime skyline continued to be dominated by St Paul's Cathedral spire and the commercial beacon of the T & G Tower. Postwar prosperity heralded a building boom that, combined with new building technologies, saw the first appearance in Melbourne of modernist glass office boxes.

The height and sleek design of ICI House symbolised progress, modernity and efficiency. Majestically situated on an island site at the corner of Albert and Nicholson Streets, the building became a new symbol of corporate power in postwar Melbourne. It still stands today.


ICI House under construction
magnifyICI House under construction, 1958
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