The Cobra Tower is the newest office building proposal emerging on the Mancunian skyline that marks a shift from the typical desk layout to a dynamic open-plan working environment. The workspace, designed with the creative industry in mind, aims to empower creative thinking and effective communication, keeping face to face collaboration at the heart of returning to the office.

Building on the concept behind the ‘Cloud Pavilion’ – meant to act as a comforting space for its users, while inducing the feeling of ‘being on cloud 9’ – the tower was designed to promote well-being and encourage social interaction in a post-pandemic world.

This proposal integrates biophilic design principles – vegetation, natural lighting and ventilation – and is driven by environmental responses that reduce energy demand: ensuring daylight control strategies and reduced wind loads due to its twisting structure. Along with the use of timber finishes, the landscape features create spaces with a strong connection to the outside. These are all adjustments that will contribute to the environmental impact of the building and cater to the need for sustainable office spaces during the current climate and biodiversity crisis.

Structurally, the tower is braced by an internal steel diagrid which supports the floorplates twisting about a central reinforced concrete core. The envelope features a double-skin façade that thermally regulates the building and acts as an insulator against cold, heat and strong winds occurring at higher levels. Nick-named ‘Amen(c)ity Tower’, the project provides daily conveniences and recreation facilities to simplify employees’ lives and help avoid unnecessary travel, whilst providing a sense of community.

Nevertheless, the performative potential was explored – a set of LED light strings branch across the envelope and pulsate light at night to emphasise the morphology inspired by the body of a Cobra – highlighting the spiralling structure watching over the city.