Shadow Box Unit
Anaconda Cut - 100 Greengate Tower

Units with variable width shadow boxes from 1500 to 750mm. Whilst the Purge Vent unit throws upwards the geometric pattern of the perforated sheet, the shadow box provides a decorative movement in plan to the building.
These spandrel units feature an anodized aluminum sheet “Gold colored” which is enclosed between the mineral wool layer and an external double-glazing with different geometric solutions.

There are three main spandrel types with the two different widths (750 and 1500mm):

- tilted to the right (external view)
- tilted to the left (internal view)
- folded with central apex.

Through a drained air space of only 90mm, within the typical unit depth of 198mm, shadows are created according to a specifically designed logic, whose arrangement can provide an interesting animated effect.

OMI Architects has been founded in 1993 and the firm is one of the leading design-led practices in the North West. Architect Directors, McCall, James, Berry and O’Dwyer head up the practice’s 16 strong team of architects and graduates, based in the former ‘Manchester Baths’. The quality of its work has been recognised with a series of awards for design excellence including 11 national and regional RIBA Awards. OMI is known for a broad range of work including residential, museums and galleries, offices, churches, education, hotels, leisure, community and public buildings, many of which are within sensitive historic settings. The residential work ranges from large-scale city centre apartment schemes to affordable housing in some of the region’s most challenging communities. To date, OMI has built nearly 4000 homes and its recently completed Manchester apartment schemes at Greengate, Alto and Wilburn Wharf are now making their mark on the City’s skyline. When working with existing buildings, OMI achieve harmony and balance between the new and the old, injecting life into what are often tired structures that have lost their way. OMI combine a real sense of interaction, delight and fun, whilst still respecting the dignity of the buildings and places that they engage with.
Anaconda Cut - 100 Greengate Tower

Anaconda Cut - 100 Greengate Tower

Seamless glazed curtain walling with gold coloured reflective metal cladding panels

Project Specs

  • Location: Manchester
  • Completed: 2019
  • Contractor: Renaker Build Ltd
  • PH. Craig Barker


Anaconda Cut - 100 Greengate Tower

A residential building with a story height of 2.4m per apartment.

The first section of the tower (from level 2 to level 16), is crowned by a recessed intermediate floor level. This floor is connected to the adjacent communal roof terrace of a projecting low rise element, creating a roof garden with views across the City of Manchester. The second section of the tower goes from level 18 to 43. The roof is crowned with a balustrade at level 44. The building envelope consists of a structural silicone unitized glazed system, with about no. 4000 units having a typical dimension of 2850mm high x 1500mm wide and 198mm deep. The elevations are articled by alternating three different types of units, whose sequence logic has been broken down in an abacus by OMI Architects

Designed by

Nick Berry
OMI Architects
Stuart McGrath

Live Project

The scheme comprises 349 residential units, 475 m2 of residents communal facilities and a private landscaped terrace and roof garden. It consists of two primary forms; the largest element is a 44-story rectilinear point block. The position of this block on the site was driven by its orientation. By placing the longest elevation of the tower adjacent to Trinity Way, the majority of apartments within the building receive direct sunlight at some point during the day and benefit from south facing views out across the city.

The height of the tower precluded the use of brickwork. This was seen as an opportunity to build upon the formal differences between the tower and the lower block by providing further contrast in their materiality. As such, the tower is clad in unitized glass panels which give the mass of the tower a degree of lightness and limit any notion of it being overbearing.

At Anaconda Cut, the unitized system includes metal panels to create solid elements in the façade, but the external face of the panels is overlaid with glass. In this way, whether the façade is window or solid, the external face is always glass. The metal panels set behind the glass are colored and reflective. The panels are also be set at angles to the façade and in some cases folded. The manipulation of these panels creates changing light conditions on the façade which give the uniform elevation some animation as the sun moves around the building. The concept envisaged that the building would appear to ‘shimmer’ as the sun hits the elevation.

Other Façade Systems


They are completely transparent with anodised natural aluminum frame and RAL 9006 sheet metal covers concealing the 450mm floor and ceiling zones.

There are two different glazing specification depending upon the orientation:
- the typical glazing used on East, South and West elevation is 88.2 + 16+66.2 with HP coating (Guardian SN 70/37);
- north elevation features a coating Low-E.

Fully glazed corner units provide breathtaking views.


About no. 1000 units having a typical width of 750mm, with anodized natural aluminum frame which incorporate an inward opening side door, with an insulating panel acting as a named by the architect Purge Vent 2.400mm high and with a top light panel of 450mm.

The finishing of the door is bicolor: on the interior features the same natural anodization as all the other profiles, whilst externally the panel is black anodized.

Inside the no. 630 top light panels has been inserted a “Duct Detail”, that is the forced ventilation for kitchen hoods or for bathrooms. This bespoke detail was tested in the independent BSRIA laboratory based in the UK.

For both decorative and structural purpose, the unit has fixed externally a 4mm anodized aluminum “Gold colored” sheet with a bespoke perforated pattern, designed by Omi to achieve a particular shading effect.
It also prevents falling from the apartments and has been statically calculated and tested in order to withstand a linear load of 0.74 kN/m and a point load of 0.5kN (as per BS EN 1991) without any permanent deformation.