The Macallan has a reputation as one of the most famous whiskey makers in the world. As part of a programme to expand production and attract international visitors the brand sought to commission a new distillery and guest experience that would be set into their beautiful Speyside estate.
Following an international competition, the Edrington Group selected RSHP and Gillespies to locate and design a landmark building and setting that could reveal the production process to visitors in a form that would be sympathetic to its historic and natural surroundings.
As Speyside is a designated Area of Great Landscape Value, the distillery and visitor centre had to be highly sensitive to its immediate environment. Gillespies was commissioned to help maximise the aesthetic beauty of the building and approach routes while reducing their visual impact on the landscape.
The guest experience starts on arrival into the 390-acre historic site. Gillespies devised a choreographed approach sequence using berms and planting to shield and open up views, referencing the ways in which the 18th Century estate was originally planned. A processional landscaped walkway cut into the existing slope, symbolically and physically connects the 18th-century laird’s house at the heart of the estate with the new building.
The building itself is partially embedded within the slope of the ground and capped by a dramatic and undulating timber roof that takes its cues from ancient Scottish earthworks. Gillespies designed a meadow formed of Scottish wildflowers – one of the largest of its kind in Europe – to cover the roof structure but not to conceal its highly expressive form.
The new interventions use locally sourced stone, timber, planting, and wildflowers to help blend the built form into the existing landscape as well as enhancing a strong sense of place and identity for The Macallan.
Macallan Distillery by RSHP. Copyright Jim Stephenson 2019
Landscape Architecture: Gillespies
Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour & Partners
Design year: 2015
Year Built: 2018
Photographer: Jim Stephenson
Consultants: Speirs + Major (lighting design); Atelier Bruckner (visitor experience and exhibition design); Forsyths (distillery)
Street view may show location before intervention