Design of a thermal handrail rail to be integrated within the building’s ground source heating and cooling system.

BRISTOL, 2007-2009. Unrealised

Project Category: Long-Term

In 2007 Urban Splash began to transform the derelict former Imperial Tobacco UK Headquarters in Heartcliff, Bristol, into a new mainly residential development called Lake Shore. I was commissioned to work on a project that articulated the building’s relationship with the innovative and invisible ground source heat pump system that would provide the building with efficient and sustainable heating and cooling. I researched and developed a method of working directly into wax and casting into bronze, sections of which would be connected together to make a tactile, thermal handrail.

Sadly, the economic situation in 2008 and 2009 meant that Urban Splash revised their plans for the site and that this project remains uncompleted.

Project Credits

Client: Urban Splash

Art Consultant: Ginkgo Projects

Architect: Acanthus Ferguson Mann

A&E Consultant: Atelier 10

Wax Manufacturers: British Wax

Foundry: Bronze Age


Thanks to Mark Kennedy of Bronze Age and Stephen Case-Green of British Wax for their expertise and generous assistance in developing this project.

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Research & Development

The derelict Lake Shore site, 2007

Lake Shore, early 1970s

Initial drawings and plaster models made to test the size and shape of various sections

The chosen section, which had a comfortable and tactile profile

project drawings, 2008

wire, wood and card model of the Lake Shore steps made to consider formal and practical options

wire models produced and photographed in woodland to test the rail’s form

wire models produced and photographed in woodland to test the rail’s form

The bespoke steel die through which casting wax was extruded.

The steel die attached to the extrusion machine

Wax billets being extruded through the die

Extruded wax length being prepared for casting into bronze

Hand-finishing a cast bronze section

A finished section