Copper Spirit Distillery

Copper Spirit Distillery

441 Bowen Island Trunk Road, Bowen Island, BC, Canada | View Map
Project Year

Andrew Latreille
Product Spec Sheet

Windows, Curtain wallAtlas Meridian Glass Works
Concrete suppliersCardinal Concrete
drywall boardCertain Teed
Lighting FixturesDiffusion
Concrete PumpingF&F Composite Group

Product Spec Sheet
Windows, Curtain wall
Concrete suppliers
drywall board
by Danfoss
Lighting Fixtures
Concrete Pumping

Copper Spirit Distillery

RSAAW as Architects

Copper Spirit Distillery: Residential and industrial coming together through a sustainable approach. Summer 2019


Vancouver-based architecture workshop RSAAW recently completed Copper Spirit Distillery, a purpose-built mixed-use sustainable building. Copper Spirit Distillery integrates an artisanal gin, vodka, and rye distillery with a tasting room and much needed residential rental units for islanders. This groundbreaking project is the first of its kind to combine industrial and residential use of this nature in Canada.


Located on Bowen Island, a municipality that is part of Metro Vancouver, the 8,815 square foot building integrates residential and industrial programs challenging both provincial code and local urban plan concepts. After numerous design iterations and a less traditional approach to the programmatic distribution, the building’s mass successfully evolved into two separate volumes connected by mechanical systems below grade and by a light-filled atrium above grade that link the public spaces of the building.


Visitors are welcomed through the minimalist tasting lounge with front patio and out into a light-filled double-height atrium where the twenty-eight-foot-high glazed ceiling showcases the German copper stills and the flow of the distilling process. The atrium’s glass floor provides a visual connection and allows daylighting into the concrete basement housing the distillery's raw material storage, bottling equipment, and rainwater collection vessels.


Three rental suites sit above the tasting lounge on the second and third floors, each with a private patio, views to the north, and skylights that allow natural light into the units.


Within the second building volume, a clean concrete form contains the heart of the operation. The formal results and features of this space are shaped by the requirements of the complex mechanical systems. The state-of-the-art distilling equipment conveys simultaneously a steampunk and high-tech aesthetic. 


The area perched above the copper stills accommodates mixing labs, workspaces, and access to the roof terrace filled with herb plantings and stunning views of the village and cove. 


Focusing on sustainable production processes, the distillery incorporates rain harvesting and heat recovery systems. Connectivity with exterior light is critical in the project; natural light is harnessed even within the 10ft-wide residential units and basement mixing rooms, reducing the need for interior lighting.


The client’s holistic approach to the alchemy of boutique distilling remained a constant guide during the logistical challenge of constructing such a mixed-use facility on a small island. The result of these ambitions can be seen in the quality of the product and the building’s overall operational success, from the large design gestures encompassing the visitor experience to the small details, including the kintsugi-style healing of the concrete floor cracks with copper rivulets.


Material Used :
1. Weyerhaeuser - Wood Engineered Package
2. Legacy Formwork - Concrete formwork
3. Rainbow Concrete - Concrete placing
4. F&F - Concrete Pumping
5. C&J - Rebar install
6. Bowen Concrete (Local, Bowen Island) - Concrete suppliers
7. Cardinal (Squamish) - Concrete suppliers
8. Lafarge (Vancouver) - Concrete suppliers
9. Kolbe Windows - Windows
10. Atlas Meridian Glassworks - Windows, Curtain wall
11. Dayliter Skylights - Skylights
12. Four Seasons Insulation - Insulation installers (spray foam)
13. PacWest - Insulation Supplier
14. Roxol - Exterior insulation product, type (mineral wool)
15. West Coast Turn Key (cedar), Crown Roofing (Metal and Trespa) - Sidings, Cedar cladding
16. Fisher coating - Exterior Paint
17. CertainTEED - drywall board
18. IBC Boiler - Boiler (North American made)
19. Danfoss - Chiller
20. Lattner - Steam boiler
21. Honeywell - Heat pumps or geothermal 
22. Reznor - Radiant Air Heater
23. Lutron - Lighting controls
24. MP Lighting (local Vancouver) - Lighting Fixtures
25. Diffusion lighting (Local Vancouver) - Lighting Fixtures
26. Kohler - Plumbing fixtures
27. Barr - Water and sediment tanks 
28. New Generation Concrete - Concrete Finishing
29. Romex Building Envelope and Waterproofing Ltd. - Below grade insulation
30. Cove Mechanical - Fire Suppression System (Sprinklers)
31. Paris Plumbing and Heating Ltd. - HVAC
32. AVG Plumbing - Plumbing 
33. Fowlstone Electric - Electrical
34. Purelux Painting - Paint
35. Crown Roofing - Torch on roofs, metal roofs, Metal and Trespa cladding

This story is available in multiple languages
Project Credits
Structural engineers
Torch on roofs, metal roofs, Metal and Trespa cladding
Code consulting
Office of New Silk Road E-Commerce Company
next project

Office of New Silk Road E-Commerce Company

Xi'an, Shaanxi, China - Build completed in 2019
View Project