Glenkinchie Distillery



ARCHITECTURE: Building Re-use


Michael Laird Architects




The Glenkinchie Distillery project for Diageo comprises of the refurbishment and upgrading of a collection of Victorian Category ‘B’ listed buildings. Our brief was the conversion of the redundant Maturation Warehouse to create a new visitor experience. Glenkinchie, lovingly known as ‘The Garden Distillery’ is one of the last remaining lowland distilleries. Historically, the Distillery was the heart of the community, providing jobs, housing, and much more. Whilst the community was an important part of the brief, we realised that there were several opportunities and constraints which needed to be addressed - predominantly, the confusing arrival experience. To address this, we created a clear visual connection from the car park to the new entrance by removing some small structures. This allowed us to provide a clear route through the newly formed gardens and past the burn, which helped to reinforce the story of the ‘Garden Distillery’ with its floral noted whisky, before arriving at the new entrance, now located on the West elevation of the warehouse. To create the new arrival space, provide views out to the rolling hills and allow light deep into the building, we made two significant interventions into the fabric of the warehouse’s West façade. While contemporary in nature, we wanted to be sensitive in material choice, detailing and scale. This enhances the traditional brickwork, without overpowering it.  Internally, we created double height pockets of space, at key locations within the building to provide generous accommodation suitable for the programme. To further preserve and enhance the character of the listed building, we reused materials from buildings of historic relevance which were removed as part of the overall proposal. For example, a stable structure was carefully dismantled so that the salvaged bricks could be reused to create new feature brick panel installations within the entrance screen. These bricks were also used extensively throughout the landscape design. We also integrated salvaged sarking boards from the roof refurbishment works internally and repurposed redundant washback timbers as internal wall cladding and external bench seating. Collectively, the reuse of these materials along with our sensitive approach to refurbishment helped the team meet the Client's expectations of 'zero waste to landfill' policy. The completed project offers a world class immersive visitor experience whilst maintaining a strong link with the local community. The generous gardens and new café/bar space are widely used by the locals, which is encouraged by the Distillery.