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.
Fraser Avenue, Phase 1
Fraser Avenue, Phase 1
Fraser Avenue, Phase 1
Fraser Avenue, Phase 1
Fraser Avenue, Phase 1
Fraser Avenue, Phase 1
Our Work - In May, 7N signed the Architect’s Declare open letter which has been signed by over 625 architectural practices. Signing the Architect’s Declare letter involves endorsing eleven ‘pledges’ which range from advocacy and raising awareness of climate and biodiversity emergencies, to significant changes in working practices around carbon modelling, resource use and knowledge sharing. Like many others, we have turned the lens on the operations of our practice and our projects to better understand where we can make a real difference and how meaningful changes can be advocated and realised. Our research will be shared in a sustainability focused blog series to document this journey, but to mark today’s day of climate action we’re offering some initial findings along with links to information others may find useful and interesting ; to read the full article, visit our Journal page - link in bio.
Timeline - In May, 7N signed the Architect’s Declare open letter which has been signed by over 625 architectural practices. Signing the Architect’s Declare letter involves endorsing eleven ‘pledges’ which range from advocacy and raising awareness of climate and biodiversity emergencies, to significant changes in working practices around carbon modelling, resource use and knowledge sharing. Like many others, we have turned the lens on the operations of our practice and our projects to better understand where we can make a real difference and how meaningful changes can be advocated and realised. Our research will be shared in a sustainability focused blog series to document this journey, but to mark today’s day of climate action we’re offering some initial findings along with links to information others may find useful and interesting ; to read the full article, visit our Journal page - link in bio.
Our Studio - In May, 7N signed the Architect’s Declare open letter which has been signed by over 625 architectural practices. Signing the Architect’s Declare letter involves endorsing eleven ‘pledges’ which range from advocacy and raising awareness of climate and biodiversity emergencies, to significant changes in working practices around carbon modelling, resource use and knowledge sharing. Like many others, we have turned the lens on the operations of our practice and our projects to better understand where we can make a real difference and how meaningful changes can be advocated and realised. Our research will be shared in a sustainability focused blog series to document this journey, but to mark today’s day of climate action we’re offering some initial findings along with links to information others may find useful and interesting ; to read the full article, visit our Journal page - link in bio.
Apartment Envelope - Windows & brickwork
Apartment Envelope - Aluminium Cladding
Balcony - The building envelope is revealed as scaffolding comes down on the first new build apartments at Jordanhill.
It’s been four years since 7N first visited Engine Shed site with the excitement and anticipation of a new project. This week the @holyrooddistillery team celebrated the first whisky pouring from an Edinburgh still in over 100 years. We wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the transformation, and say congratulations to all involved. Cheers! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Swipe to see how things have changed, and read more about the history of the site on our journal (link in bio). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo by @zacandzac
It’s been four years since 7N first visited Engine Shed site with the excitement and anticipation of a new project. This week the @holyrooddistillery team celebrated the first whisky pouring from an Edinburgh still in over 100 years. We wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the transformation, and say congratulations to all involved. Cheers! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Swipe to see how things have changed, and read more about the history of the site on our journal (link in bio). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo by @zacandzac
It’s been four years since 7N first visited Engine Shed site with the excitement and anticipation of a new project. This week the @holyrooddistillery team celebrated the first whisky pouring from an Edinburgh still in over 100 years. We wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the transformation, and say congratulations to all involved. Cheers! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Swipe to see how things have changed, and read more about the history of the site on our journal (link in bio). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Photo by @zacandzac
7N are happy to announce that our Knab project in Shetland has been shortlisted in the Masterplanning category for the 2019 AJ Awards. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The masterplan represents an admirable initiative by the Shetland Islands Council to consult the local Lerwick community in the development of the vision for repurposing this publicly owned site to deliver the affordable housing that is essential to sustain the future economy of the Islands. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The project will utilise a key town centre site in Lerwick, formerly the only high school on the Shetland Islands, to deliver forms of affordable housing and related mixed uses which are not currently being delivered by the public or private sectors. The buildings and public realm have been designed to stitch the site into the grain of Lerwick’s Old Town. Staggered building forms are offset around intimate streets, spaces and residential courtyards, designed in collaboration with Rankin Fraser Landscape Architecture. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 7N are very proud to be part of the team on this project, and this nomination is wonderful recognition for all involved. ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @rankinfraserlandscapearch @architectsjournal ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Image by @darcstudio_troy
7N are happy to announce that our Knab project in Shetland has been shortlisted in the Masterplanning category for the 2019 AJ Awards. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The masterplan represents an admirable initiative by the Shetland Islands Council to consult the local Lerwick community in the development of the vision for repurposing this publicly owned site to deliver the affordable housing that is essential to sustain the future economy of the Islands. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The project will utilise a key town centre site in Lerwick, formerly the only high school on the Shetland Islands, to deliver forms of affordable housing and related mixed uses which are not currently being delivered by the public or private sectors. The buildings and public realm have been designed to stitch the site into the grain of Lerwick’s Old Town. Staggered building forms are offset around intimate streets, spaces and residential courtyards, designed in collaboration with Rankin Fraser Landscape Architecture. 7N are very proud to be part of the team on this project, and this nomination is wonderful recognition for all involved. ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @rankinfraserlandscapearch @architectsjournal
7N are happy to announce that our Knab project in Shetland has been shortlisted in the Masterplanning category for the 2019 AJ Awards. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The masterplan represents an admirable initiative by the Shetland Islands Council to consult the local Lerwick community in the development of the vision for repurposing this publicly owned site to deliver the affordable housing that is essential to sustain the future economy of the Islands. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The project will utilise a key town centre site in Lerwick, formerly the only high school on the Shetland Islands, to deliver forms of affordable housing and related mixed uses which are not currently being delivered by the public or private sectors. The buildings and public realm have been designed to stitch the site into the grain of Lerwick’s Old Town. Staggered building forms are offset around intimate streets, spaces and residential courtyards, designed in collaboration with Rankin Fraser Landscape Architecture. 7N are very proud to be part of the team on this project, and this nomination is wonderful recognition for all involved. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @rankinfraserlandscapearch @architectsjournal ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Image by @darcstudio_troy
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