rogers stirk harbour + partners completes macallan whisky distillery in scotland

rogers stirk harbour + partners completes macallan whisky distillery in scotland

rogers stirk harbour + partners (RSHP) has completed the macallan distillery and visitor experience in speyside, scotland. set into the landscape of the estate that has been distilling the famous single malt whisky since 1824, the building seeks to reveal the brand’s production processes and welcome visitors, while remaining sensitive to the surrounding countryside. ‘the macallan estate truly is a special place; a place we have come to love and respect hugely,’ says senior partner and lead architect graham stirk.

RSHP macallan distillery
all images © joas souza



designed by RSHP, the new distillery will enable production of the macallan to increase by a third if required. as one approaches, grass-covered peaks rise and fall from the estate grounds, subtly signaling the activities housed beneath. once inside, a series of production cells are arranged in a linear format with an open-plan layout simultaneously revealing all stages of the production process. these cells are reflected above the building in the form of a gently undulating timber roof.

RSHP macallan distillery
view of the building from the south-east



the visitor experience starts with an introduction to the macallan in an exhibition and gallery area, before progressing through a sequence of spaces that follow the production story of the whisky. natural materials — local stone, timber, and the living meadow roof — as well as the landscaping design, have been used to both evoke the environment and ingredients of whisky production, and to provide an atmospheric journey for the visitor.

RSHP macallan distillery
axial view of the the still houses



‘arriving at the site the visitor’s journey weaves and meanders via a serpentine drive allowing views of barley and the river spey beyond,’ explains says project architect toby jeavons. ‘the tree lined approach towards easter elchies house teases with glimpses of the new distillery and visitor experience ahead. the visitor enters the new building via a link beneath the ground that compresses the experience before releasing and emerging into the cathedral like volume within’.

RSHP macallan distillery
the macallan club – the bar area within the visitor experience



‘as the macallan has grown globally it has been very important that we make sure we can sustain demand for this wonderful amber liquid,’ adds creative director for the macallan ken grier. ‘we’ve taken exceptional care in making sure that the spirit that is produced in the new distillery is identical to the spirit that we produced in our previous distillery. this is the beginning of a really exciting new chapter in the evolution of this wonderful brand that is the macallan.’

RSHP macallan distillery
the mash house

RSHP macallan distillery
view towards the production facility from the upper bar area

RSHP macallan distillery
visitor experience circulation staircase lined with polished plaster

RSHP macallan distillery
view of steam pipework and process machinery beneath a still house

RSHP macallan distillery
cave privée

RSHP macallan distillery
the timber roof in the still house

RSHP macallan distillery
the view of the glazed facade and landscape from the production walkway

RSHP macallan distillery
the entrance approach

video courtesy of the macallan and rogers stirk harbour + partners

video courtesy of the macallan and rogers stirk harbour + partners



UPDATE: this project has been shortlisted in the ‘completed buildings – production energy and recycling’ category and for the ‘best use of certified timber prize’ at the 2019 world architecture festival.

  • Proud to be involved in such a fantastic structure. A must see when visiting Scotland next.

    Dr Sam Wong says:
  • . . . ‘We have been expecting you Mr Bond’ . . . .

    Adam Brocklehurst says:
  • Timber roof structure by Wiehag GmbH

    John Spittle says:

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