The Borders Distillery

  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © Keith Hunter
  • © keith Hunter

Application Type

Civic Trust Awards

Level of Award

Award

Region

Scotland

Local Authority Area

Scottish Borders

Information about this scheme

The original Urban Electric Company Headquarters building was purchased in 2015. Located on the A7 close to the river Teviot this building is an excellent fit for the distillery with good water supply and transport links. The stone sheds are top lit with big roof spans, and solid walls at low level proving ideal to house Stills, fermenters and Mash Tun, all connected by a mass of pipework, not dissimilar to the original use which had steam boilers, generators and pipes. In 2015 the building had extensive dry rot and structural collapse had begun. One of the challenges was to house a bonded secure distillery with heavy goods access alongside and inextricably linked with a Visitor Centre designed to attract tourists. An additional challenge was to abstract water for the Cooling process from the River Teviot on the other side of the A7 from the site. The main entrance is on the A7 and is highly visible to cars and pedestrians with Stills on view through large windows. The goods vehicles and distillery access is from the rear. Plant room, boiler house and large grain silos are also kept to the rear. The only new build part of the building is formed with a glass screen to provide a new entrance and links the Visitor’s Centre to the distillery. The space between the two parts forms a welcoming sheltered courtyard with a window dramatically elongated to provide views into the working heart of the distillery and silhouetting the copper whisky Stills against the sky. In the new glazed lobby the stone walls are left exposed to keep the character of the original courtyard. The new staircase structure and bridge are kept as light as possible with open treads and glass balustrades. The Still House and Mash House are housed in the old workshop buildings, big open spaces naturally lit from above. This double height space has an open grid mezzanine installed to allow communication and visual connection for those working in these areas. More unusual for a distillery the mezzanine has been carefully designed at one level to match the visitor centre first floor providing a fully accessible tour. The Visitor’s Centre is located in the previous offices of the original Urban Electric company, built on a more domestic scale. Main lobby, shop and office are located at ground floor level. Whisky tasting room and board room are at first floor level with views over the river reminding visitors of the source of the water. The office is located between the street entrance and the distillery providing the staff with a light, bright working area with direct views across the courtyard into the distillery and also in a good location to monitor visitors as they arrive and leave.

Credits

Architect

Gray Macpherson Architects

Client

The Three Stills Company Ltd

Main Contractor

M & J Ballantyne

Services Engineer

Harley Haddows

Structural Engineer

David Narro Associates

Quantity Surveyor

Ralph Ogg & Partners

Lighting Consultant

Harley Haddows

Primary Use Class

Class B1 - Business