Tasting room? Aim for the tallest structure

Oli Architecture has created a 15,000m² landmark distillery in China’s Yunnan Province – distillery tours culminate with a whiskey tasting in the Barrel Tower, an iconic beacon influenced by the local architecture

Designed by Oli Architecture

Oli Architecture’s newest project for Diageo China applies the studio’s characteristic attention to form, light, and site resonance to a new distillery and visitors’ centre nestled in the valley of China’s snowcapped Cangshan mountains. 

The whiskey distillation process, coupled with OLI Architecture’s signature response to surrounding landscape, inspired the design concept 'Of Nature, to Nature', highlighting the circular relationship of the architecture to its context. 

The collection of buildings and outdoor spaces make extensive use of local stone and are harmoniously embedded into the terrain to follow the natural elevations of the site. 

The complex then dramatically opens on the southern exposed face to reveal the landscape, mountains, and vast sky. 

The distillery, and its extensive water features stepping towards the east, are supplied by the locally sourced pristine spring water, purified, and reused after the crafting of the high-quality single malt whiskey. 

Completing the cycle, the lushly landscaped east end, with natural retention pools of post-production purified water, supports native endangered species – promoting the biodiversity of Yunnan.

Phase one of the project incorporates a 2500m² Visitors’ Centre with a technologically advanced 12,500m² distillery. 

The visitors’ centre, arrival, and reception areas welcome guests in advance of their tour through the production facility, designed to be an immersive, multi-sensory experience. 

The tour culminates with a whiskey tasting in the Barrel Tower, an iconic beacon in the landscape, influenced by the local architecture of Dali city in Yunnan Province. 

Visitors can also enjoy additional hospitality spaces including a high-end tasting lounge of locally sourced ingredients, retail store, café, and a multi-function and VIP space for events and distinguished guests. 

The distillery is organised into zones for the complete whiskey production process – grist, milling, mashing, fermentation, distilling, coopering, filling, cask storage, and maturation – with offices for the engineering team and support staff. 

The site and programme will be further developed in future phases.   

Credit list

Diageo Distillery, Yunnan Province, China
Design team
Hiroshi Okamoto – founding partner; Bing Lin – founding partner; Christos Athanasopolous – project manager; Valentina Angelucci – designer; Haoyu Wang – designer; Sanghoon Seo – designer; Zhen Hua – designer; Kojo Quainoo – designer; Aleksandr Dmitrashchuk – designer; Benjamin Woolworth – designer
Brand strategy consultant
Hillcrest Consulting
Architecture firm
Local design institute
Haisum Engineering  
Project management
PM Group 

Designed by: Oli Architecture

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Renders courtesy of Oli Architecture

20 Mar, 2022

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