Manchester’s sustainable statement: the Tower of Light

May 1, 2024
The tower’s laser-cut exterior is colorfully illuminated to mark celebrations.

How did the city of Manchester communicate its desire for cleaner energy? They created a pristine white Tower of Light and a Wall of Energy with an inspired team of designers and technical artists led by London-based architectural firm Tonkin Liu.

 In function, the tower is a 131-ft-tall chimney for the power station that provides more sustainable heat and power to several of the city’s landmarks—town hall, central library, convention center, and others. The exterior form of the tower demonstrates a “shell lace structure,” which makes a building as strong as possible with minimum materials—the basic tenant of sustainable design. Integrated LED lights, programmed in collaboration with lighting specialist SEAM Design, change the appearance of the tower every 15 minutes, creating Manchester’s eye-catching statement for sustainability. 

This article appeared in the September 2022 issue of Architectural SSL magazine.

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About the Author

Architectural SSL staff

In January 2024, Architectural SSL evolved to LightSPEC. While the name changed, the editorial focus -- writing and developing audience-first content about architectural lighting in the built environment for architects, interior designers, lighting designers and manufacturers, and specifiers of commercial and residential lighting and controls -- remains the same.