Render image showing the front entrance approach to Isle of Barra Distillery.
Isle of Barra Distillery



7 Wellington Square



Leave your details


We designed a new single malt whisky and gin distillery and visitor centre for our clients on the Isle of Barra after they came to us with an exciting vision to expand their already successful business.


The brief was to design a new purpose-built distillery that would house the clients existing gin production operations and provide capacity for their new whisky production. Alongside this, they wanted to build a visitor centre to include a cafe, shop and ancillary areas.


Isle of Barra


Isle of Barra Distillery





Our clients wanted their new facility to represent the island and its community values, acting as a lasting legacy to the island for years to come.

Our approach to this project was based around bringing to life the client's vision of expanding their business in a sustainable and future-proof way.


Throughout the design process, we took into consideration the sensitivity of the rural site to make sure that the visual impact of the new building and associated facilities fit within the context and surrounding landscape, as well as the island's history.


With the environment in mind, our final design concept made sure that the surrounding landscape could be returned to its natural state, enhanced by wildflowers and native plants, local to the area.

Render image showing a perspective section of Isle of Barra Distillery, in blue duotone.
Render image showing the rear view towards Isle of Barra Distillery.

Materials and finishes

We opted for prefabricated materials due to the remote location, meaning delivery and installation time on site are reduced. The island location and exposed site also present a requirement to utilise materials that are durable against the elements – another benefit of the proposed cladding.


For the parking areas and the road leading up to the site, we selected crushed stone with the aim of reusing excavated rock from the site, allowing us to contribute to the circular economy.


Our final design proposal suggested landscaping the surrounding area to reflect the existing, with the addition of machair wildflowers to promote wildlife. The introduction of these wildflowers aimed to create pollination friendly areas and increased biodiversity to encourage the great yellow bumblebee. In addition, reinstating the natural landscape has created habitats for the corncrakes, also local to the area.

Section drawing of proposed site for Isle of Barra distillery.
Section drawing of proposed site for Isle of Barra distillery, in pale duotone.

Orientation and form. Hover or tap on the white dots on the above image to explore.

Axonometric drawing showing the proposed site for Isle of Barra distillery, in green duotone.

Capturing the view

Key views to the east, showcasing the white sand beach towards the sound of Barra, and the west, featuring the rocky coastline of the Atlantic, inspired the orientation and form of the building.

Using varying levels

The site topography presented the opportunity to use the levels to our advantage, enabling us to separate public and private access to the building whilst providing shelter from the weather.

Orientation and form. Hover or tap on the white dots on the above image to explore.


The final proposal was designed to be sensitive to its rural context. In such a special site, we aimed to maximise views to the Atlantic and the tranquil white-sand beaches, iconic to the Isle of Barra. We achieved this through carefully considered orientation and design of internal spaces, whilst the massing and form were inspired by the traditional forms found around the island.


On completion, this building hopes to create more jobs on the island and contribute to a sustainable future for its residents. The distillery will significantly contribute to the island's fragile economy by providing a tourist destination for visitors to the island.

Render image showing the front approach to Isle of Barra Distillery.
Distillery Hall
Surrounding Render
Tasting Room

Project team

Staff member working over a computer in Denham Youd offices.

Steven Denham

Founder and Managing Director

Staff member smiling mid conversation with a colleague in Denham Youd offices.

Joanne Cowan

Part 2 Architectural Assistant

Staff member considering material choices during a client meeting in Denham Youd offices.

Chris Youd

Architect Director

Project collaborators

David Narro Associates

Structural and Civil

McInally Associates

Planning Consultant


M&E Engineer



Tetra Tech



Distillery Specialists

Michael Morrison

Managing Director, Isle of Barra Distillers

Understanding, trust, connection - these are words we felt after our first meeting with Denham/Youd & it is for that reason we knew our project & ultimately, our dream was in the right hands.

Michael Morrison

Managing Director, Isle of Barra Distillers

Ready to work with us on your next project?