Case Study

Wooden roof of Macallan Distillery resonates authenticity and honesty

October 03, 2020
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Wooden roof of Macallan Distillery resonates authenticity and honesty

The Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience in Craigellachie, Speyside in Scotland is a stunning sight. Five meadow-covered hills hide the undulating roof of the distillery. The contemporary building combines a wooden roof with glass and steel. Fast, light and green Kerto LVL (laminated veneer lumber) was used as part of the prefabricated roof.

The building includes a Visitor Experience centre, three still houses and a mash house with a common roof and fully glazed wall. This reflects the wishes of the Macallan Distillery, a premium brand, whose single malt whisky production dates back to 1824. The goal was a contemporary facility celebrating phasing, authenticity and honesty. 


“Enthusiasts can see how whisky is produced, because the machinery can be viewed from the fully glazed Visitor Experience area. The architecture elevates the beautiful copper stills into something special,” says Toby Jeavons, Project Architect at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, a renowned international architectural practice responsible for the architecture.


The natural materials add to this.


“We wanted to celebrate the honesty of materials rather than hide the roof structure with a ceiling,” continues Jeavons.


Prefabricated roof structure
The roof consists of a wooden waffle structure, supported by a steel structure. The wooden parts were manufactured at the Wiehag factory in Austria. The glulam beams feature Kerto LVL used as cheeks on both sides, and triangular Kerto LVL panels have been used as roof panels. 


“Kerto LVL is a very good engineered wood material, because you can trust the material dimensions,” says Johannes Rebhahn, Sales Director International Timber Projects at Wiehag, who was responsible for the roof construction. 


The construction of the Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience took only six months. It was a carefully coordinated operation, because the roof contains some 3,600 beams and 2,500 roof panels.


“In general, offsite construction is a great way to save construction time. When prefabrication such as cutting is done in the factory and connections have been designed to be simple, the easier, safer and more cost-effective life on the site is,” Rebhahn concluded.
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