Raising a glass to glulam

Up to 400 people specialising in more than 20 different trades were involved in building the new £140 million Macallan distillery, for Edrington, the international premium spirits company.

Robertson delivered the architectural design for the building on the Easter Elchies estate in Speyside, which has been creating single malt whisky since 1824.

Working with 25 contractors to bring the vision for the new distillery and visitor experience to life, Robertson took the complex and unique architectural design and moulded it to complement an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Mark Power, Magnum Photos

Natural materials such as local stone and timber, as well as a living meadow roof, were used to evoke the environment and ingredients of whisky production, as well as aiming to provide an atmospheric journey for visitors.

“This once-in-a-lifetime project is one that Robertson has been honoured to be part of,” said Bill Robertson, founder and executive chairman. “The complexity of the construction work required a huge effort from various teams within our business, and their passion and dedication for the project is clear when you see the completed distillery and visitor experience.”

Mark Power, Magnum Photos

One of the most complex timber structures built in the UK, the scheme’s five domes mirror the surrounding landscape but also allow height for the stratification and exhaust of hot air.

There are over 380,000 individual components in the 207-metre long roof, which has an area of 13,620m2 and took almost 12 months to complete. It comprises 1,750 glued laminated timber beams, making up a 3×3 metre grid that carries 2,500 cassettes, supporting the natural meadow roof covering.

Collaborative design and bespoke parametric modelling software were used to define the complex geometry and realise the fluidity of the structure.

All the timber elements were manufactured in Austria using high-precision, computer- controlled technology, by Wiehag and over 5,000 lifts and four mobile cranes were used to install the roof structure.

The project, which won the Structural Award at the Wood Awards 2018, was announced in 2012 and the build began in December 2014.

The first whisky ran through the stills in December 2017 and the visitor experience opened its doors to the public in June this year.

MAIN PICTURE – Mark Power, Magnum Photos

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