ICI commissioned Bates Smart & McCutcheon to design its new Melbourne headquarters in 1955. Their response to the prominent site at the east end of the city’s ‘Hoddle Grid’ is a fully-glazed 19-storey office tower (70m) raised on pilotis, with a discrete service tower to the north. The publicly-accessible landscaped gardens to the north and south were part of a trade-off arrangement with the planning authorities that allowed ICI House to break Melbourne’s height limit, which had been 40.3m since 1916.
From the outset of the fast-tracked construction process, ICI House was a critical and popular success. On 11 December 1958, the day of the official opening, the Herald reported that, “Probably no other building since the Exhibition Building in 1879 has captured Melbourne’s imagination as much”.
In March 1990, ICI House became the first modern office building in Melbourne to be included on the Historic Buildings Register (now the Victorian Heritage Register). In 2005, it was included in the National Heritage List.
Share this page