Located on a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River, the Visitor Center is the newest component of recent additions & expansions to the bourbon distillery complex, one of seven original member distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The 8,600 s.f. facility houses interactive exhibits, a gift shop, reception/event
venues, a tasting room and ancillary support spaces. In concert with a major re-branding program that caters to both longtime devoted fans and a growing legion of new bourbon enthusiasts, the project employs a design direction that is both familiar and new –
bridging tradition & innovation through an immersive environment of contrasts & dualities.
Utilizing a simple barn silhouette (an interpretation of tar-pitched tobacco barns common to the area), the building presents a clear & recognizable marker at the scale of the landscape. Clad in a chevron pattern of stained wood plank siding, the simplicity of the
barn form is contrasted by the intricacy of the building skin, creating a shifting sense of scale and tactility that is deliberately both simple and complex. Alternating zones of opaque and light-filtering lattice blur the boundaries between inside/out and solid/void. By night, the dark structure transforms into a delicate, glowing lantern of filigree perched above the river.
Internally, the building is organized along a ramped, split-level public promenade that culminates in an elevated tasting room overlooking the Kentucky River (the bourbon’s base water source). In a nod to the nearby bridges spanning the river, a wooden trestle element provides a physical spine from which the various programmatic elements are reached. Warm, amber-toned interior wood finishes highlight and complement the rich color of the bourbon products.
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