CIS Tower

Last updated

CIS Tower
Co-operative Insurance Society Tower, Miller Street, Manchester (2) (geograph 2757249).jpg
The CIS Tower with solar panel-clad service tower on the left and the glazed office tower on the right
Record height
Tallest in the United Kingdom from 1962 to 1963 [I]
Preceded by Shell Centre
Surpassed by Millbank Tower
General information
StatusGrade II
Architectural style Modernism
Location Manchester, England
Coordinates 53°29′11″N2°14′18″W / 53.48639°N 2.23833°W / 53.48639; -2.23833 Coordinates: 53°29′11″N2°14′18″W / 53.48639°N 2.23833°W / 53.48639; -2.23833
Construction started1959
Owner The Co-operative Group
Roof118 m (387 ft)
Technical details
Floor count25
Design and construction
Architect Gordon Tait
G. S. Hay

The CIS Tower is an office skyscraper on Miller Street in Manchester, England. It was completed in 1962 and rises to 387 feet (118 m) in height. The Grade II listed building, which houses the Co-operative Banking Group, is Manchester's eighth-tallest building and the tallest office building in the United Kingdom outside London. The tower remained as built for over 40 years until maintenance issues on the service tower required an extensive renovation which included covering its facade in photovoltaic panels.



The mosaic-clad tower in 2002 CIS Tower tiled in 2002.jpg
The mosaic-clad tower in 2002

The tower was designed as a prestige headquarters to showcase the Co-operative movement in Manchester. [1] In 1958, the company proposed building an office tower block, construction began the following year and it was completed in 1962. [2] It was designed by Gordon Tait of Burnett, Tait & Partners and Co-operative's own architect, G. S. Hay. In the 1990s, it was granted Grade II listed building status by English Heritage. The tower, described as "the best of the Manchester 1960s office blocks", [3] was listed for its "discipline and consistency". It is part of a group with New Century House and its Conference Hall on Corporation Street. [4] The tower's design was influenced by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's Inland Steel Building in Chicago after a visit by the architects in 1958. [1] [5]

CIS Tower from Miller Street New Century Hall.jpg
CIS Tower from Miller Street

In 1962, at 387 feet, the CIS Tower overtook the Shell Centre as the tallest building in the United Kingdom, a title it retained for a year until it was replaced by the Millbank Tower in London. In 2006, the Beetham Tower became the tallest building in Manchester. [6]


The office tower building rises above a five-storey podium block. It has a steel frame and glass curtain walls with metal window frames. Black vitreous enamel panels demarcate the floor levels. The building materials, glass, enamelled steel and aluminium, were chosen so that the building could remain clean in the polluted Manchester atmosphere. [3] The tower's concrete service shaft, which rises above the office tower, has two bands of vents at the top and was clad in a mosaic made up of 14 million centimetre-square, grey tesserae [4] designed to shimmer and sparkle. [5] The projecting reinforced concrete service shaft houses lifts and emergency stairs. [7]

The ground floor is set back behind six pillars. A green bronze-like, abstract mural sculpted by William George Mitchell made from fibreglass covers the entrance hall's rear wall. [4] The building has 700,000 square feet of floor area with clear open spaces on the office floors. [7] Interiors were designed by Misha Black of the Design Research Unit. The executive areas are delineated by the use of teak and cherry wood veneers. [3]


Within six months of construction some of the mosaic tiles on the service tower became detached owing to cement failure and lack of expansion joints in the concrete. Although the tower was granted listed building status in 1995, falling tiles were an ongoing problem. English Heritage had to be consulted as alterations could change the building's appearance. [8]

In 2004 CIS consulted Solarcentury with a view to replacing the deteriorating mosaic with 575.5 kW of blue building-integrated photovoltaic (PV) cells which would generate approximately 180,000 kWh (average of 20 kW) of electricity per year. The work was completed by Arup and at that time was the largest commercial solar façade in Europe. The PV cells made by Sharp Electronics [9] began feeding electricity to the National Grid in November 2005. [10] [11] The project, which cost £5.5 million, was partly funded by the Northwest Regional Development Agency which granted £885,000 and the Energy Savings Trust at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) contributed £175,000. [10] The solar power project was chosen by the DTI as one of the "10 best green energy projects" of 2005. [12] Out of sight on the roof are 24 wind turbines generating 10% of the tower's electricity. [13]

See also

Related Research Articles

Shalom Meir Tower

Shalom Meir Tower is an office tower in Tel Aviv, Israel. It was Israel's first skyscraper.

Photovoltaics Method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity

Photovoltaics (PV) is the conversion of light into electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon studied in physics, photochemistry, and electrochemistry.

The Shard Skyscraper in London

The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge and formerly London Bridge Tower, is a 95-storey supertall skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of the Shard Quarter development. Standing 309.6 metres (1,016 ft) high, the Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom, and the sixth-tallest building in Europe. It is also the second-tallest free-standing structure in the United Kingdom, after the concrete tower of the Emley Moor transmitting station. It replaced Southwark Towers, a 24-storey office block built on the site in 1975.

103 Colmore Row demolished building in Birmingham

103 Colmore Row, formerly known as National Westminster House, was a building on Colmore Row, Birmingham, England. The original building was designed by John Madin and was completed in October 1975 as offices and a banking hall for National Westminster Bank. After National Westminster Bank vacated the building it passed through several ownerships but failed to lease its offices. In 2008 a plan by then owners British Land to demolish the tower and replace with a taller modern equivalent was approved. This plan never progressed and the building passed to the developer Sterling Property Ventures, who successfully applied to have the building demolished and a new tower constructed in 2015. Demolition began in July 2015 and was completed in January 2017.

Stamford Street Street in London

Stamford Street is a street in Lambeth and Southwark, London, England, just south of the River Thames. It runs between Waterloo Road to the west and Blackfriars Road to the east. It forms part of the A3200.

Beetham Tower, Manchester skyscraper in Manchester, England

Beetham Tower is a landmark 47-storey mixed use skyscraper in Manchester, England. Completed in 2006, it is named after its developers, the Beetham Organisation, and was designed by SimpsonHaugh and Partners. The development occupies a sliver of land at the top of Deansgate, hence its elongated plan, and was proposed in July 2003, with construction beginning a year later.

The Index (Dubai)

The Index is a 328 m (1,076 ft) tall, 80-storey skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Of the 80 floors, the first four floors are service floors, 5th–29th are to be offices and 31st–77th are residential use, 73rd and 75th floors are duplex penthouses and 77th to 80th floor are triplex penthouses. The tower is oriented exactly along the east–west axis so that the eastern and western concrete cores shelter the floors from the harsh, desert sun and the climatic effects of the area. The concrete cores shelter the building from the low angle, highly penetrating morning and evening sun leaving only the south facade exposed to the high angle, low penetrating midday sun. The south-facing facade utilizes extensive sun shades to lower solar gain.

Lakhta Center skyscraper in Saint-Petersburg, Russia

The Lakhta Center is an 87-story skyscraper built in the outskirts of Lakhta in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Standing 462 metres (1,516 ft) tall, the Lakhta Center is the tallest building in Russia, the tallest building in Europe, and the 16th-tallest building in the world. The Lakhta Center is also the second-tallest structure in Russia and Europe, behind Ostankino Tower in Moscow.

Architecture of Manchester

The architecture of Manchester demonstrates a rich variety of architectural styles. The city is a product of the Industrial Revolution and is known as the first modern, industrial city. Manchester is noted for its warehouses, railway viaducts, cotton mills and canals - remnants of its past when the city produced and traded goods. Manchester has minimal Georgian or medieval architecture to speak of and consequently has a vast array of 19th and early 20th-century architecture styles; examples include Palazzo, Neo-Gothic, Venetian Gothic, Edwardian baroque, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and the Neo-Classical.

Alan Turing Building

The Alan Turing Building, named after the mathematician and founder of computer science Alan Turing, is a building at the University of Manchester, in Manchester, England. It houses the School of Mathematics, the Photon Science Institute and the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics. The building is located in the Chorlton-on-Medlock district of Manchester, on Upper Brook Street, and is adjacent to University Place and the Henry Royce Institute. While under construction the project was known as AMPPS : Astronomy, Mathematics, Physics and Photon Science. The building was shortlisted for the Greater Manchester Building of the Year 2008 prize, which is awarded by the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. The manager of the building project was awarded a silver medal in the Chartered Institute of Building "Construction Manager of the Year" awards.

Holyoake House Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4

Holyoake House is a building in the NOMA district of Manchester, England, which was completed in 1911. Designed by F.E.L. Harris, it was built for the Co-operative Union in memory of George Holyoake. It is located alongside other listed buildings such as the CIS Tower, Hanover Building and Redfern Building and is owned by Co-operatives UK.

Deansgate Square skyscraper cluster in Manchester

Deansgate Square, formerly known as Owen Street, is a skyscraper cluster development nearing completion on the southern edge of Manchester City Centre, consisting of four skyscrapers, the highest is 201 metres tall. The site is just south of Deansgate railway station and north of the Mancunian Way, bounded by Old Deansgate, Pond Street, Owen Street and the River Medlock. Manchester City Council adopted a framework in the early 2000s, known as the Great Jackson Street Development Framework, which earmarked the site as an acceptable location for high-rise buildings. The framework was enacted to encourage building development as the site had been vacant for many years and was perceived to be isolated as it was bounded by major arterial roads.

Shanghai Tower megatall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Shanghai, China

The Shanghai Tower is a 632-metre (2,073 ft), 128-story megatall skyscraper in Lujiazui, Pudong, Shanghai. It shares the record of having the world's highest observation deck within a building or structure at 562 m, and the world's second-fastest elevators at a top speed of 20.5 metres per second. It is the world's second-tallest building by height to architectural top. However, the title of the world's fastest elevator now belongs to the Guangzhou CTF Finance Centre, with a top speed of 21 metres per second achieved in 2017. Designed by international design firm Gensler and owned by the Shanghai city government, it is the tallest of the world's first triple-adjacent supertall buildings in Pudong, the other two being the Jin Mao Tower and the Shanghai World Financial Centre. Its tiered construction, designed for high energy efficiency, provides nine separate zones divided between office, retail and leisure use.

Co-op Insurance

Co-op Insurance is the trading name of Co-op Insurance Services Limited which is a general insurance company based in Manchester, United Kingdom. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Co-operative Group.

1 Spinningfields

No.1 Spinningfields is a 92-metre office tower in the Spinningfields district of Manchester city centre, Manchester in the United Kingdom.

One Angel Square office building in Manchester, England

One Angel Square is an office building in Manchester, England. Construction work began in 2010 and was completed in February 2013. The landmark building is the head office of the Co-operative Group. Standing 72.5 metres tall, the building forms the centrepiece of the new £800 million NOMA development in the Angel Meadows area of Manchester city centre. The building cost at least £105 million to construct and was sold on leaseback terms in 2013 for £142 million.

Redfern Building grade II listed low-rise in Manchester, United kingdom

Redfern Building in Manchester, England, is a Grade-II listed building which was completed in 1936. The building is situated on Dantzic Street and meets the junction of Mayes Street and Hanover Street. Redfern was originally built for office and warehouse use.

New Century House office building with an attached conference hall, in the NOMA district of Manchester, England

New Century House is an office building with an attached conference hall, in the NOMA district of Manchester, England. New Century House is 50 metres (160 ft) high and has 14 levels. There is office space, conference facilities, catering facilitates and a gym.

Alan Boyson, RCA was an English muralist and sculptor, who worked chiefly in glass, ceramic and concrete.


  1. 1 2 marvellous modern icons, Manchester Modernists Society, 31 October 2011, archived from the original on 5 July 2012
  2. CIS Tower, Skyscraper News, 31 October 2011
  3. 1 2 3 The Co-operative Wholesale Society and the Co-operative Insurance Society Buildings, Looking at Buildings, 31 October 2011
  4. 1 2 3 Historic England, "Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) building, Miller Street, Manchester  (Grade II) (1270494)", National Heritage List for England , retrieved 23 August 2013
  5. 1 2 History of the solar tower, The Co-operative Bank, 31 October 2011, archived from the original on 25 April 2012
  6. Green light for high living, The BBC, 31 October 2011
  7. 1 2 Part-3 Air Conditioned Office Buildings (PDF), Heritage Group Website for CIBSE, 31 October 2011, p. 12
  8. CIS Tower, Manchester April 2003, The Twentieh Century Society, 21 April 2007, archived from the original on 13 August 2011, retrieved 31 October 2011
  9. CIS Tower, Manchester, Sharp Manufacturing, retrieved 31 October 2011
  10. 1 2 Solar power tower hits city, Manchester evening News, 22 February 2003, retrieved 24 October 2011
  11. "CIS 'Solar Tower' Case Study", solarcentury, archived from the original on 5 September 2007, retrieved 11 September 2007
  12. The Solar Tower, The Co-operative Group, 31 October 2011, archived from the original on 14 September 2011
  13. UK's CIS Solar Tower garners 390-kilowatts from the sun, Engadget, 21 April 2007, retrieved 3 November 2011
Preceded by
Shell Centre
Tallest Building in the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
Millbank Tower
Preceded by
Manchester Town Hall
Tallest Building in Manchester
Succeeded by
Beetham Tower