Client : Chivas Brothers
Location : London
Value : Undisclosed
Completion Date : April 2014

Beefeater Gin is the world’s number one premium gin and has been made in the heart of London for over 150 years. Beefeater is uniquely placed to call itself the Home of Gin and tell the intriguing story of the entwined history of London and Gin.

Lee Boyd won a limited invited competition as far back as 2008 and joined design consultants Four-by-Two, to tackle the challenge of integrating public facilities into the fully operational distillery which combines industrial buildings from different eras and sits alongside Victorian gasometers. The emphasis on the team was to represent the strength of the famous Beefeater brand. 

Lee Boyd was tasked with creating a new external building, providing a distinct point of entry for the centre and linking the two existing distillery buildings together with vertical circulation that would take visitors from the exhibition areas to the Stills House. Four-by-Two was to coordinate the design and interpretation of the exhibitions themselves and the integration of these within the shell of redundant parts of the distillery.

Neither the two very different connected distillery buildings nor the surrounding context are overly suggestive in terms of appropriate language and therefore the concept of a more sculptural form, achieved using a contemporary approach, providing an interesting counterpoint to the more traditional industrial forms, rhythms and materials of the distillery and adjacent gas works.

Taking this idea further Lee Boyd were keen for the new extension to retain an industrial sensibility and at a gentle level provide reference and resonance to the materiality of the gin stills and gas works, the geometries and rhythms of the gas works structure, the mannered facade of the 20th Century distillery building and the hues of the 19th Century building.

The simple tower is formed in dark precast concrete, however the key architectural device is the over cladding of this tower with copper coloured fins that create an ever changing facade and the visual dynamic you get with repetitive elements that are protruding. This provides a reading of the structure behind and an understanding of the layering of fins and carriers. The carriers themselves in contrasting stainless steel, set up a ‘criss-cross’ arrangement behind the vertical fins, that has resonance with the braced structure of the adjacent gas works.

Design team :
Quantity Surveyor : Charles Scott & Partners
Structural Engineer : Charles Scott & Partners
Services Engineer : Charles Scott & Partners
Main Contractor : JM Scully Ltd
Exhibition Design: Four-by-Two & Contagious

Credits : Photographs by Paul Riddle Photography