London architecture student Jonathan Gales doesn’t just think the 20th century’s iconic office skyscraper is outdated — he thinks it should be buried. Or chunks of it, at least.

Gales, an M. Arch student at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London, England has proposed, for his eVolo Skyscrapers competition entry, the partial deconstruction of individual skyscrapers to allow for increased green space at staggered heights throughout the city. Citing a 2009 figure from the Telegraph that 11.9 percent of offices in the city are sitting vacant (the equivalent of 10 skyscrapers), Gales poses the idea that replacing a section of each individual office tower with trees and green space would create an increased capacity for the city’s “urban lung.” And instead of sending all that metal and glass to landfills, Gales proposes a sustainable – and ideological – repurposing: re-craft these old offices into an underground tomb to honor to the outdated skyscraper, and all it represents. The Mausoleum to Late Capitalist Iconography would house a think tank dedicated to social, cultural and economic design research, and host debates and symposia below the city’s surface. In a marrying of economic theory and architectural design, Gales asks his audience to consider what the cities of the future really need, and what’s best left to the past.

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