New Macallan Distillery Building, Speyside, Scotland

New Macallan Distillery Speyside Building, Scottish Whisky Development, Aberlour Visitors Attraction

New Macallan Distillery Building

Whisky Production Building in Scotland – design by Rogers, Stirk, Harbour and Partners

10 Oct 2019 ; 23 May 2019

Macallan Distillery Award News

The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience, Aberlour, by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners wins the 2019 RIAS Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award

Seven worthy winners of RIAS Awards for 2019 were shortlisted for the coveted 2019 Doolan Prize.

The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience was designed to deliver a unique brand and home at their historic site in Speyside. The contemporary distillery reveals the production processes and welcomes visitors while remaining sensitive to the beautiful surrounding countryside.

The award was presented at a ceremony at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, a previous Doolan winner, by the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Ms Aileen Campbell, alongside Mrs Margaret Doolan Hon FRIAS. The award is generously supported by the late Andrew Doolan’s mother and family and by the Scottish Government.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government, Aileen Campbell, said: “The RIAS Andrew Doolan Award underlines the importance that Scotland places on good design, and this year’s winning project, The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience, is an outstanding addition to our built environment.

We will continue to support the architecture and design sector so that Scotland’s buildings and places enrich our lives, lessen our environmental impact and contribute to our cultural and national identity”

The judges for this year’s award were Prof. Sadie Morgan, from Stirling Prize winning practice, dRMM; Henry McKeown, Director of the award-winning Scottish Practice jm architect and Prof. Mona Siddiqui OBE Hon FRIAS, from the University of Edinburgh’s School of Divinity. The judges commented:

“The attention to detail and the consistency and control of aesthetic decisions in this building is incredibly impressive. The technology of how the architecture is made, is complimented by the theatrical arrangement, and format of the locally crafted copper whisky stills, mash tanks and the labyrinth of pipework that connects them and makes them work. This is a harmonious, confident, highly accomplished work at every level.

The same level of care and attention to detail and painstaking coordination was also evident in the mechanical and electrical design of this vast machine, everything has been thought through and built expertly. For the jury this building was the undisputed winner of this prestigious award.”

Macallan Distillery – RICS Awards News

This significant Scottish whisky building has received a coveted accolade at the prestigious Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards.

Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Exhibition Design: Atelier Brückner
Engineer: ARUP
Lighting Designer: Speirs + Major
Landscape Architect: Gillespies

View of distillery in the ‘evening lighting’ setting:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting
photo © Speirs + Major

Premium spirits giant Edrington’s £140m Macallan Distillery and visitor experience in Speyside picked up the ‘Design through Innovation’ award at the Scotland ceremony, with judges commending the project team’s careful management of the environment, sustainability and local resources, particularly water, and the building’s innovative design.

More information at Scottish Architecture News

1 June + 25 May 2018

New Macallan Distillery Building in Speyside

Design: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP)

Location: Easter Elchies estate, Speyside, Northeast Scotland

New Macallan Distillery in Speyside


Speirs + Major have unveiled their lighting design for The Macallan new distillery and visitor experience on the Easter Elchies estate, Speyside, Northeast Scotland.

VIP bar:
New Macallan Distillery Building in Speyside

The design references the dynamic light qualities found in the local landscape and the world’s leading single malt whisky that is produced on the site, while shaping a unique experience of the complex distilling process at the heart of the brand.

Speirs + Major bring their extensive experience in illuminating a wide range of architectural settings to this project and have collaborated closely with the client, Edrington, to create an engaging atmospheric design that encapsulates the spirit of The Macallan.

View of the specially-choreographed pipework arrangement beneath the deck:
New Macallan Distillery Building in Speyside

Photographs © Magnum Photos

The design uses a balance of light and darkness to:

• Create a sense of theatre: The ability of light to transform our perception of scale and space is expertly employed, building a sense of revelation into the visitor journey. From the dramatic first glimpse of the illuminated undulating roofline and the mirrored reflection of trees and path lights, light itself leads the way into and through the visitor experience. Inside, skilled choreography of the lit effect creates layering and depth.

View of the central bar:
New Macallan Distillery Building in Speyside

Light is used to celebrate the impressive scale and unique form of the architecture, while simultaneously evoking the subtle alchemy within the pipes and distilling equipment. The experience culminates with a spectacular immersive experience in the Cave Privée – a unique circular whisky store – where programmable dynamic light combines with black polished surfaces to create stunning kaleidoscopic effects.

Exhibition enabling visitors to immerse themselves in the various flavours of the different Macallan ranges:
New Macallan Distillery Building in Speyside

• Showcase the product: The magical play of light on liquid and glass is used to reveal the true colours of The Macallan. Different qualities of light are deployed throughout the bar and visitor experience, alluding to the breadth of tasting notes that characterise The Macallan.

Photos below © Speirs + Major

View of the uplit, undulating roof edge looking into the distillery:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

Light reveals the depth and purity of the liquid when nosing, and backlit bottles glow jewel-like against dark backgrounds to entice customers.

View of exhibition area:
New Macallan Distillery Building in Speyside

A soaring brand wall made of hundreds of bottles forms a dynamic tapestry of light, glass and liquid, in dramatic contrast to the quiet shadows of the bar where customers can experience the quiet pleasure of an exceptional dram.

Whisky casks in the Cave Privée:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

• Support the brand story: The Macallan combines tradition and a commitment to quality, while embracing innovation. The lighting design draws on this dialectic to generate a strong sense of narrative through the revelation of surfaces, textures and space.

Detail of a still above the deck:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

Within the main production facilities, light highlights the sculptural forms and characteristic materials of the process equipment. Colour provides visual cues; cool blue for the stainless steel cold process equipment, and amber red hues for the hot copper stills. Programmed scenes enable a strong focus on a single entity, or a full revelation of the space. Lighting cues allow these scenes to evolve over the course of a tour, to support and enhance the telling of the whisky-making story.

Detail of a washback below the deck:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

Working closely with the exhibition designers, light is meticulously integrated into the experience of each display: from backlit text, to orchestrated shafts of ‘sunlight’, to an illuminated single drop of liquid. In parallel to this creative and dramatic light, simple efficient operational light is added as a layer within the design.

This light accommodates the stringent working requirements of the facility, without compromising the visual impact of the visitor experience.

View of distillery in the ‘white’ lighting setting:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

Mark Major, Principal, Speirs + Major, commented: “Providing the flexibility, by day and after dark, not only to support the visitor experience but also the operational requirements of a working distillery presented a significant challenge – but one that we found both exciting and inspiring.

The vision for the project afforded us a remarkable creative opportunity. We carefully crafted the balance of light, darkness, colour and texture not only to respond to the narrative of the project but also to the special quality of the natural light and the way it reveals the whisky-making process and the architecture in its landscape setting.”

View of distillery in the ‘day’ setting:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

Clementine Fletcher-Smith, Associate Partner, Speirs + Major, added:
“It has been a unique and exciting project to work on given not only the impressive architectural design but also the beauty of the objects within it. Working with The Macallan and their design team to explore how light can be used to reveal the narrative of their product, as well as to enhance the architecture itself, has enabled the lighting to become an inherent part of the whisky experience.

The Macallan’s passion for creating something really special has allowed us to choreograph an experience that is truly unprecedented, and it has been so rewarding to see how positive their response has been.”

View of distillery in the ‘evening hospitality’ setting:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

The distillery designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) – and the associated visitor experience designed by Atelier Brückner – are scheduled to open to the public in the summer of 2018.

New Macallan Distillery on Speyside – Building Information

Design Team

Client: Edrington Group
Lighting Designer: Speirs + Major
Architect: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Exhibition Design: Atelier Brückner
Engineer: ARUP
Landscape Architect: Gillespies


About Speirs + Major

Speirs + Major are an independent, award-winning design practice that uses light and dark to enhance the experience of the built environment. The practice’s output is wide-ranging in terms of type and scale and encompasses lighting for architecture, urban design and strategic branding, as well as innovative product development.

Speirs + Major work in close collaboration with their clients, and with their architects and design partners. Light and dark reveal the core principles of the design, often creating a strong visual narrative, while becoming an integral part of the final built form.

This approach combines creativity with pragmatism, ensuring their solutions are both sustainable and easy to manage, and has guided the practice through hundreds of successful lighting projects around the world.

These include: creating the external identity and interior ambience of Copenhagen Opera House, supporting the spirituality of the interior of St Paul’s Cathedral, London; designing at an industrial scale whilst revealing and enhancing the architectural form for Barajas Airport, Madrid; masterplanning the public realm experience at King’s Cross after dark; and using light as a fundamental part of brand identity for Armani’s flagship stores and buildings. @SpeirsandMajor

View of the uplit roof undulating along the rear distillery circulation route:
New Macallan Distillery building on Speyside interior lighting

About The Macallan

Founded in 1824, The Macallan is one of the worlds most admired and awarded single malt whiskies. The reputation of The Macallan is based on a product of outstanding quality and distinctive character, founded upon a set of guiding principles, the Six Pillars. An obsession with quality has been the hallmark of The Macallan since its’ founding by Alexander Reid on a plateau above the river Spey in northeast Scotland. The distillery is surrounded by a 150-hectare estate, with Easter Elchies House at its heart, a Highland Manor built in 1700.

About Edrington

Edrington owns some of the leading Scotch whisky and rum brands in the world, including The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Highland Park, Cutty Sark, The Glenrothes, Brugal and Snow Leopard vodka. Edrington is headquartered in Scotland and employs around 3,000 people in its companies and joint venture operations worldwide, with over 70% employed overseas.

The company owns its route to market in 13 countries, and operates the remainder through joint venture and third party agreements. Edrington’s principal shareholder is The Robertson Trust, which has donated over £250 million to a variety of charitable causes since 1961.

The new distillery and visitor experience in numbers:

• The Macallan has been produced on Easter Elchies Estate since 1824
• The new distillery and visitor experience is located just 400 metres from the existing distillery
• The project has taken three years and six months to complete (Dec 2014 –May 2018)
• £140m was invested and 60 new jobs are set to be created
• The roof of the distillery is one of the most complicated timber structures in the world, comprising 1,800 single beams, 2,500 different roof elements, and 380,000 individual com ponents, almost none of which are equal or the same
• During construction, up to 400 people specialising in over 20 different trades were employed on site
• The first spirit run took place in November 2017 and production was passed to the new distillery in December 2017
• The stills in the new distillery are the exact same shape, size and lyne arm orientation as those used in the previous distillery and have been made by Scottish coppersmiths Forsyths, who have been making the brand’s distinctive, ‘curiously small’ stills for The Macallan since the 1950s
• Around 95 per cent of the energy consumed will be from renewable sources

Macallan Distillery in Speyside, Scotland images / information received 240518

22 May 2018
Macallan Distillery in Speyside, Speyside, Highlands – Northern Scotland
Design: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP)
Macallan Distillery in Speyside Scotland
photo © Simon PricePA Wire
New Macallan Distillery in Speyside, Scotland

Previously on e-architect – project inception info:

Macallan Distillery in Moray

Rogers Stirk Harbour Partners

Location: Speyside, Scotland

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photograph © Neale Smith
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Comments / photos for the New Macallan Distillery Building in Speyside Scottish Architecture page welcome

Website: Macallan Distillery Speyside