Macallan Distillery chasing another prestigious prize

The Macallan distillery and visitor experience is in the running for another major architectural award.

It is one of six candidates for the Stirling Prize, which is bestowed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, recognising excellence in architecture on any scale.

The £140 million project at the Easter Elchies estate was designed by London architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, and was finished in May 2018.

RIBA President Ben Derbyshire said of the finalists: ‘What they have in common – ground-breaking innovation, extraordinary creativity and the highest-quality materials and detailing – sets them apart, rightfully earning them a chance to win the highest accolade in architecture. We must encourage their architectural ambition, innovation, bravery and skill.’

The Macallan’s owners, Edrington, wanted a building that could reveal the production processes of their single malt Scotch whisky and welcome visitors, while respecting the idyllic landscape of the Speyside region. This resulted in the new distillery, which has a new grass-covered roof cut into the slope of the land, and is made up of 2500 triangles of Scandinavian wood and other natural materials

This design was informed by the surrounding landscape and the whisky production process, which has taken place on The Macallan Estate since 1824.

The other contenders are:

Cork House, Berkshire

Made almost entirely from cork, this  home in Etonwas tested and developed in partnership with The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL, it was constructed entirely by hand in a manner ‘designed for disassembly’, with all its components capable of being be reused. It has already won the RIBA South Award 2019, with a RIBA spokesman saying: ‘An entirely cork construction, with solid structural cork walls and roof, the building has exceptionally low whole-life carbon.’

Goldsmith Street, Norwich

These are 105 new energy efficient homes designed for social housing have created a highly sustainable community around a number of streets. It is the largest Passivhaus scheme in the UK, whereby insulation and light-absorbing materials mean the properties do not rely on any fuel-heating methods, and are instead ‘passively’ heated by things like the sun and humans inside the properties. Architects Mikhail Riches designed the highly sustainable community over a number of streets with an interconnected design.

London Bridge Station

London Bridge reopened last year following a £1 billion transformation, with a new 15-platform concourse and lower-level shopping centre. It has been rebuilt three times before, in 1849 and 1864 and once again in a extensive re-fit during the 1970s while changing tracks and signalling. Completed in January last year, the project by Grimshaw Architects is the biggest railway upgrade since Victorian times.

Nevill Holt Opera, Leicestershire

Nevill Holt Opera is considered to be among the most unique opera houses in the country. Housed inside a converted 17th-century stable block, the new theatre space opened in June last year, winning four RIBA awards.   The theatre makes the most of its intimate space and mixes old elements like its ironstone walls with a new rectangular roof and balcony. It was designed by architects Witherford Watson Mann, while theatre design experts Sound Space Vision provided the acoustics.

The Weston, Yorkshire Sculpture Park. 

The ambitious design of Lambeth-based architecture practice Feilden Fowles for The Weston visitor centre at Yorkshire Sculpture Park includes a new restaurant, gallery space, public foyer and shop. Impressive features of the £3.6 million build, which was completed in 2018, include a concrete saw-tooth roof and scalloped crown perched on top of the sunken building, plus tall windows that make the most of the rolling views over the park and lake beyond.

The winner of the RIBA Stirling Prize 2019 will be revealed at 9pm today.

Earlier this week, it was announced Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) had won this year’s Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award from the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) for The Macallan facility in Speyside.

The ‘Doolan’ shortlist is composed of winners from several categories from the RIAS and the RIBA National awards. RSHP is honoured by the recognition of this award and furthermore to have been shortlisted with the other six buildings that have already received such recognition from RIAS/RIBA combined awards.

The judges said about the project: ‘The attention to detail and the consistency and control of aesthetic decisions in this building is incredibly impressive. A worthy winner.’

Graham Stirk, senior design partner, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said: ‘It has been an honour for RSHP and the wider team to have assisted The Macallan in realising their vision for a new 21st century Distillery and Visitor experience.

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