The skylines of many cities worldwide are still defined by the dominant and ubiquitous office blocks of the twentieth century. While there is consensus stating that future tall building typologies should depart substantially from these past models, the inheritance of large and obsolete tall office building stocks presents a problem of global significance. Too old for present corporate models, but too new for gaining public historical importance, the twentieth-century office tower is a typology under threat of extinction. However, the need for a culturally informed strategy of preservation for that generation of tall buildings is seldom advocated. Drawing evidence from the case of Melbourne, Australia, this article presents a methodological pathway to overcome pitfalls of memory and interpretation, which commonly prevent an unbiased assessment of the value and urban contribution of late-twentieth-century skyscrapers.
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