The Architect of Rosebank
There’s a distinct bustle of activity down at Rosebank with the rumble of trucks and tread of heavy boots as work gets underway on rebuilding the distillery. With the site shrouded by a two-metre hoarding, it’s unclear what form the new Rosebank will take, but the lead architect Jeremy Scott can give us a glimpse behind the scene.
“It’s going to be a building of two sides,” he says. “You're going to have quite a traditional side by the canal which hints at bits of modern, and then you're going to have a really modern side along the road. On the ground floor there’ll be the Rosebank red brick and then this zinc box floats above it, with the new buildings wrapped around the iconic chimney.”
Approaching from the west, along the canal, “you would see a really impressive end to the building – almost a counterpoint to the original Rosebank,” says Jeremy. “It’s like the prow of the new building in black zinc – nice and calm and modern.” It will be quite a contrast to the old Rosebank, as he explains: “What we found with the existing distillery is that it evolved organically with bits built on when they needed it. Historically it had been a stone building almost to keep the heat in with very few windows, and we are the opposite of that - we've got natural ventilation and quite a lot of glass.”
The original layout may have been baffling to visitors, but then the distillery was never open to the public. Whereas the design for the new Rosebank “will allow the history to be understood,” he says. “Architecturally, it will create a new vision for the site which is modern and different but still has the traditions of distilling in quite a unique building.”
When Rosebank closed in 1993, the Forth & Clyde canal was stagnant and lifeless. It has since been reinvigorated with the Falkirk Wheel a few miles west of the distillery, and the famous Kelpies a few miles east. Jeremy Scott calls it “a string of pearls”. If true, at least for whisky lovers, the jewel in the middle will be Rosebank.