Curious Brewery Ashford, Chapel Down Kent Winery, Southeast England Building
Curious Brewery Ashford, Kent
New Building for Chapel Down in Southeast England design by Guy Hollaway Architects, UK
29 May 2019
Architect: Guy Hollaway Architects
Location: Ashford, Kent, Southeast England, UK
Guy Hollaway Architects’ ‘cathedral of brewing’ for Curious Brewery opens in Ashford
Curious Brewery in Ashford, Kent
Curious Brewery is the UK’s newest brewery and will transform the brand’s production operations, quadrupling its output, as well as creating a new visitor attraction in the Kent region, with guided tours, tastings, a shop, restaurant and bar.
Guy Hollaway Architects have addressed the complex functional requirements of the brewery within a supershed which also celebrates the theatrical aspects of brewing and showcases production techniques and craftsmanship. The building makes a bold statement about modern brewing in Britain, with a suitably ‘curious’ black façade which gives little away until visitors step inside where it then opens up the modern brewing process to visitors with an immersive approach to the brand experience.
Curious is Chapel Down’s award-winning beer. Like their gin, these are drinks made by winemakers, with a winemakers twist. The 4,000 sq ft first floor restaurant and bar are a British take on the concept of the German beer hall, featuring long tables, high ceilings and a simple menu of classic British dishes designed to complement the beer itself, which is piped directly from on-site tanks. Diners can look through the restaurant windows into the brewhouse below. A private dining room set within the restaurant will host bookable master-classes and special tasting menus.
A modern industrial aesthetic complements the industrial processes on show with a palette of self coloured steel for balustrading, bar glass storage and shelving, grey resin motion floor, and simple white metro tiles. Metro tiles offer a retro touch, originally being used in the first New York subway stations.The bar features a charred Kebony timber front and waxed steel bar top. A black aluminium lattice ceiling creates the perfect acoustic environment and references the external black diamond cladding.
A bar and shop at the front of the brewery lead to landscaped garden where visitors can enjoy a pint outdoors before stocking up on beer to take home. Inspired by the Kent coastline at Dungeness, the garden will feature the raw hop and barley ingredients used in Curious Beer.
Guy Hollaway Architects’ simple shed structure houses a complex technical fit out, with a 10m x 6m high glazed elevation displaying the brewhouse process taking inside. Visitor facilities including main entrance, bar and shop are housed at one end, with the building rising to a pitched roof to both house the 100 seat restaurant, and give some external architectural presence to the most prominent corner of the site.
The entire manufacturing process from grain delivery to beer export is located on the ground floor within a double height space, and an internal layout that has been developed closely with Chapel Down for maximum efficiency. A vast 15 metre turntable is located to the rear of the building to facilitate efficient flow of collection and delivery trucks.
Twenty one fermentation tanks are accommodated at Curious Brewery, meaning that the fast- growing drinks producer can increase its capacity to hold up to 170,000 pints of beer on site at any one time, but also brew in smaller batches as required for freshness and taste. Several tanks including grain and yeast silos are located on the outside of the building, not only keeping the beer cool, and freeing up internal space for enhanced visitor facilities, but creating a strong visual presence for the brewery which sits at the heart of Ashford and signals its fast changing profile.
The 6m custom built project sits on a 1.6 acre site next door to Ashford International Station. With the support of original landowner U & I and Ashford Borough Council, the project is part of a larger masterplan for the wider regeneration of Ashford and its day-to-night economy.
The project is the third that Guy Hollaway Architects has completed for Chapel Down, following its design of buildings for all three of the Group’s drinks operations including the Wine Sanctuary in Tenterden in 2017 and the Gin Works which opened at the end of 2018 at Kings Cross in London.
Guy Hollaway of Guy Hollaway Architects said:
We are delighted to have been part of Chapel Down’s story in recent years and to see this latest chapter of their story emerge in the heart of Ashford. Curious Brewery has been a fantastic project to work on and we can’t wait to see it in full operation and full of visitors enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of a working Kent brewery.
Gareth Bath, Managing Director, Beer and Cider, Chapel Down Group said:
Curious Brewery is the latest jewel-in-the-crown for Chapel Down, following the recent opening of our Gin Works at King’s Cross. This is a brewery in the great tradition of the way we Brits used to do breweries; an integral part of its setting, a local employer and a focal point for the town. Guy Hollaway Architects understand our brand and ambitions and have helped us create something exceptional here.
Curious Brewery Ashford Kent – Building Information
Client: Chapel Down Group PLC
Project Manager: Aecom
M&E, Structural, Civils: MLM Group
Local Authority: Ashford Borough Council
Specialist Subcontractor (Beer): Niras
Contractor: Jenner (Contractors) Ltd
About Guy Hollaway Architects
Guy Hollaway Architects is an award-winning architecture and interiors practice with offices in Kent and London and a strong reputation for design. The practice is working in a wide range of sectors including hospitality, hotels, restaurants, education and housing, and in recent years has worked on a number of large scale regeneration schemes across Kent including Dreamland at Margate, the transformative Rocksalt restaurant at Folkestone, and Folkestone Academy. Recent projects include the award-winning Process Gallery for artist Nick Veasey, the first new build Picturehouse in the UK at Ashford for developers Stanhope, a new Winery, Gin Works and Brewery for Chapel Down, and a number of large regen and housing schemes in London including Bromley South Central for U & I and the Fisheries in Hackney’s London Fields.
About Chapel Down
Chapel Down is Britain’s leading winemaker, supplying two thirds of the UK’s wine output. It is the official wine of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and is an official partner to the Royal Opera House, the Donmar Warehouse and the London Symphony Orchestra.
The Chapel Down winery is based in Tenterden, Kent, and has 16 acres under vine on a 68
acre estate within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Chapel Down Group’s brands include Curious Brewing, making premium craft beers, each with a winemaker’s twist, and the Gin Works bar and restaurant which opened in Kings Cross, London at the end of 2018.
This year Chapel Down will create the largest single vineyard in the UK at Boarley, Kent.
About Curious Brewing
From Chapel Down, England’s leading winemaker, Curious Brewing make premium craft beers, each with a winemaker’s twist – beer for the discerning, beer for the curious. The Curious Brewery product range is listed nationally in Majestic, Waitrose and Tesco, as well as in many of the UK’s finest restaurants and bars. Curious Brewery is the official beer and cider supplier to the Donmar Warehouse and London Symphony Orchestra, its products are also served at The National Portrait Gallery, Royal Festival Hall and the Southbank Centre.
Photos: Ashley Gendek Photography
Curious Brewery Ashford, Kent, for Chapel Down images / information received 290519
Address: The Curious Brewery, Unit 1, Victoria Rd, Ashford TN23 7HQ, United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1233 528300
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