Holyrood Distillery
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As our project for Edinburgh’s first new Single Malt Distillery in 90 years starts on site, Vivi Dailly explores the history of the site and whisky production in the city.

After a long period of maturation we are very pleased that our project for Holyrood Distillery is now on site. The project involves converting and extending a Victorian railway building in the centre of Edinburgh, into a new Visitor Experience and Single Malt Distillery.

Scotland’s capital has not been home to a Single Malt Distillery for over 90 years. While whisky tourism brings in close to £40 million a year to Scotland’s economy, much of this bypasses Edinburgh. Our project for Holyrood Distillery aims to bring this tradition back to the nation’s capital and offer people the chance to learn about and experience the distilling process.

In adapting the building for the next chapter of its life, we have particularly enjoyed looking back at two linked strands of history: the provenance of the building (and the key role it played in the industrialisation of the city), and the history of whisky distilling in Edinburgh.

Located on the fringes of Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, the Category B Listed building, previously known as St Leonard’s Station, was the terminus of Edinburgh’s first railway- The Innocent Railway. This railway was opened in 1831 to transport much needed affordable coal into the capital from mines in Dalkeith. It is suggested that the Innocent Railway gained its name from the use of horses that were initially used to draw coal trucks into the city, rather than the modern, more dangerous new steam engines. The railway became a main artery for fuel for the modernising city and its dramatic industrialisation- one of these industries being distilling.

A significant number of breweries and distilleries developed in the local area in what became known as the ‘charmed circle’, where the hard waters underlying Holyrood, the Cowgate, the Grassmarket and Fountainbridge were found to be ideal for both brewing and distilling.

Glen Sciennes Distillery, one of Edinburgh’s most celebrated lost distilleries, was established in close proximity to our site in 1849, with its associated granaries and maltings buildings being located in St Leonards. This distillery was the last single malt distillery to operate in Edinburgh and was closed in 1925.

We have been very conscious of these braided strands of history when developing our proposals. Our approach has been to retain the historic external fabric of the listed structure whilst making considered alterations to the internal layout to adapt to the requirements of the distilling process and visitor experience. Where possible, the existing stone and cast iron columns, which give the building its robust industrial character, will remain exposed.

To announce the building’s new use, we have designed a new gatehouse extension which is clearly expressed as a fine modern metal and timber clad contemporary element which complements the rawer materiality of the existing stone, whilst taking reference from the additive dark timber structures which were appended to the main building in the 19th and early 20th century. This new extension will mark the entrance to the new Distillery and offer visitors a dramatic view to Salisbury Crags and the edge of Holyrood Park.

With its unique location and heritage, the Holyrood Distillery will provide public access to a piece of the city’s industrial heritage whilst creating a high quality visitor destination- what better place to experience a single malt?

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Observations

Images from our Instagram account which capture idea, places and things that inspire us.
Western Harbour 7N Architects’ Western Harbour project has received a Commendation in the Future Project category at the Scottish Design Awards. Many thanks to our clients Forth Ports Ltd and Rettie & Co for commissioning such an ambitious, placemaking, approach to addressing Edinburgh’s acute housing needs.
The Knab, Lerwick We’re delighted to have won the Scottish Design Award in Master Planning for our Knab project in Shetland. It’s fantastic recognition for everyone involved, and wonderful to see this collaboration with the Lerwick community recognised.
Scottish Design Awards 2019 - We’re looking forward to joining everyone at the Scottish Design Awards in Glasgow this evening. We are delighted to be nominated in the Master Planning category for our Knab project in Shetland, and also in the Future Place category for our Western Harbour project in Leith. Pleased to be nominated among some great competition, good luck to everyone involved!
Scottish Design Awards 2019 - We’re looking forward to joining everyone at the Scottish Design Awards in Glasgow this evening. We are delighted to be nominated in the Master Planning category for our Knab project in Shetland, and also in the Future Place category for our Western Harbour project in Leith. Pleased to be nominated among some great competition, good luck to everyone involved!
Scottish Design Awards 2019 - We’re looking forward to joining everyone at the Scottish Design Awards in Glasgow this evening. We are delighted to be nominated in the Master Planning category for our Knab project in Shetland, and also in the Future Place category for our Western Harbour project in Leith. Pleased to be nominated among some great competition, good luck to everyone involved!
Jordanhill - Cladding
Jordanhill - Brickwork
Jordanhill - New Build Living Room - The phase 1 apartments are taking shape with internal fit out well underway. Scheduled for completion towards the end of the year, here is an in progress view showing one of the open plan living spaces, each of which has sliding doors out onto an inset 6m.sq balcony.
Demolition works progressing at Jordanhill.
David Stow, Jordanhill - Stonework conservation and repair works with replacement of all existing windows, now progressing to the buildings east facade.
David Stow Building - Stonework
What if...? Is a collection of ideas and propositions aimed at questioning, stimulating and inspiring positive change within the city we live and work in. They are ideas to stimulate discussion, debate and expansive thinking on how Edinburgh can be a better place for all its citizens. See our highlights or visit our website to view the full publication and watch the short film.
What if...? Is a collection of ideas and propositions aimed at questioning, stimulating and inspiring positive change within the city we live and work in. They are ideas to stimulate discussion, debate and expansive thinking on how Edinburgh can be a better place for all its citizens. See our highlights or visit our website to view the full publication and watch the short film.
What if...? Is a collection of ideas and propositions aimed at questioning, stimulating and inspiring positive change within the city we live and work in. They are ideas to stimulate discussion, debate and expansive thinking on how Edinburgh can be a better place for all its citizens. See our highlights or visit our website to view the full publication and watch the short film.
This is the opening week for the Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh’s first new single-malt whisky distillery in almost 100 years. The project has been designed by 7N Architects and delivered in collaboration with ISG Construction, Blyth and Blyth, David Adamson Group, ICENI projects, Cubit3D and Threebrand as well as a fantastic team of specialist contractors and craftspeople. Located at the foot of the Salisbury Crags, the new distillery involves the adaptive reuse and extension of the Grade B listed former railway terminus. Unlike in traditional distilleries - where the visitor experience has often been retrospectively grafted onto the existing distilling installation – the Holyrood Distillery weaves the visitor experience into the distilling process from the beginning. 7N’s approach combines heritage and modernity by revealing the historic character of the original building and enhancing it with a new extension as both the arrival point for visitors and the climax of the visitor experience. The tasting area is orientated towards Salisbury Crags so that visitors can savour a dram at the end of their journey whilst looking out to the dramatic landscape which embeds the experience in Scotland's Capital City. 7N would like to thank everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition and wish the Holyrood Distillery team all the very best with their new venture.
This is the opening week for the Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh’s first new single-malt whisky distillery in almost 100 years. The project has been designed by 7N Architects and delivered in collaboration with ISG Construction, Blyth and Blyth, David Adamson Group, ICENI projects, Cubit3D and Threebrand as well as a fantastic team of specialist contractors and craftspeople. Located at the foot of the Salisbury Crags, the new distillery involves the adaptive reuse and extension of the Grade B listed former railway terminus. Unlike in traditional distilleries - where the visitor experience has often been retrospectively grafted onto the existing distilling installation – the Holyrood Distillery weaves the visitor experience into the distilling process from the beginning. 7N’s approach combines heritage and modernity by revealing the historic character of the original building and enhancing it with a new extension as both the arrival point for visitors and the climax of the visitor experience. The tasting area is orientated towards Salisbury Crags so that visitors can savour a dram at the end of their journey whilst looking out to the dramatic landscape which embeds the experience in Scotland's Capital City. 7N would like to thank everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition and wish the Holyrood Distillery team all the very best with their new venture.
This week is opening week for the Holyrood Distillery, Edinburgh’s first new single-malt whisky distillery in almost 100 years. The project has been designed by 7N Architects and delivered in collaboration with ISG Construction, Blyth and Blyth, David Adamson Group, ICENI projects, Cubit3D and Threebrand as well as a fantastic team of specialist contractors and craftspeople. Located at the foot of the Salisbury Crags, the new distillery involves the adaptive reuse and extension of the Grade B listed former railway terminus. Unlike in traditional distilleries - where the visitor experience has often been retrospectively grafted onto the existing distilling installation – the Holyrood Distillery weaves the visitor experience into the distilling process from the beginning. 7N’s approach combines heritage and modernity by revealing the historic character of the original building and enhancing it with a new extension as both the arrival point for visitors and the climax of the visitor experience. The tasting area is orientated towards Salisbury Crags so that visitors can savour a dram at the end of their journey whilst looking out to the dramatic landscape which embeds the experience in Scotland's Capital City. 7N would like to thank everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition and wish the Holyrood Distillery team all the very best with their new venture.
Fort William Concept Design ; One Bed Apartments
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