For this unique facility -- a modern structure in an industry steeped in tradition -- the design team embraced the strategy “form follows process,” allowing the building to take shape in response to the bourbon production process it would house. The result: a distinctive, responsive building that shares its design and purpose equally with the building’s capacious copper and steel equipment.
Taking a cue from Louis Kahn’s Salt Institute, the overall form is divided into “service” (warehouse) and “served” (atrium and event space) volumes. A public passageway navigates between the two without intruding on either before it ascends, on a meandering path, through the 60-foot-tall Manufacturing Atrium enclosed by glass and blackened wood louvres. The path continuesover the fermentation tanks, around the 48-foot-tall copper still, and on to "Overlook," the 150-seat event space.
Throughout the interior journey, the gleaming still is always in view, underscoring the notion of the building as an homage to the craft of bourbon making. The facility is also filled with architectural references to Kentucky’s favorite beverage, waiting for visitors to discover them.
The abundance of glass throughout the building and the wood louvres around the ManufacturingAtrium satisfy the owner’s vision for transparency. During the day, the transparent/translucent structure provides panoramic views from the inside to the historic "Nulu" streetscape, downtown Louisville’s main street, and the barges and bridges along the Ohio River. The transparency effectively and metaphorically blurs the line between the distillery and the city that makes it possible. When the sun sets, the Atrium glows like a welcoming lantern.Public tours let visitors see each step along the process of creating award-winning Kentucky bourbon.
Contextual elements also played key roles in the building’s architecture as the design team incorporated elements of the old Disney Tire building on the property into the new structure. When the owner purchased a ca. 1930 church nearby, the team repurposed 8000 square feet of it for office, storage, shipping, and receiving spaces.
From the original concept to the final structure, Rabbit Hole Distillery evolved from a 24,000-square-foot structure to the 55,000-square-foot, $15 milliondistillery that inhabits an entire city block in the historic heart of downtown Louisville.
Primary Building Materials
- Shaped wood/aluminum screen
- Insulated glass panels
- Perforated metal
- Kynar-coated metal panels
- Steel and lumber framing (canopy)
- Bead-blasted concrete block
- Painted silos
- Screen with graphics
- Painted galvanized steel frame
Material Used :
1. Metal Sales, Louisville: Worked directly with pod a+d for R&D for a custom metal skin
2. Vedome Copper and Ironworks, Louisville: Worked directly with pod a+d and Rabbit Hole for the custom design of the still, doubler, and spirits safe (high wine tailbox).
3. Sentry Steel, Louisville: Custom Metal and Steel Fabrications
4. Fiandre (distributed by Mees Tile, Louisville): Tile Floors and Walls
5. Silestone (distributed by Mees Tile/Cosentini, Louisville): Bars and countertops
6. Cole/Efco, Louisville: Curtainwall, storefront, windows
7. Cole/Efco, Louisville: Custom outrigger support system for wood louvers designed by pod a+d
8. Duravit: Sinks and lavs
9. Sloan: Toilets and urinals
10. Sarnofil: PVC roof membranes
11. Hunter Panels: XCi Ply insulation board
12. Bison: Exterior Raised floor systems
13. Cookson, Louisville: Fire rated overhead doors
14. Willis Klein, Louisville: Door Hardware
15. Dine, Louisville: Food Service Design and Equipment with pod a+d
16. Vertical Express, Louisville: Elevator
17. Engineered Lighting Sales, Louisville: Lighting
18. Reliable: Architectural Mechanical Louver systems