Small Building, Big Impact

pod architecture + design turns tank expansion into modern pavilion at Rabbit Hole Distillery

Expanding a bourbon distillery’s tank space is rarely an architectural opportunity. Tank rooms are hard-working, utilitarian structures where huge metal tanks ferment, distill, and filter the owner’s spirits of choice.

Nothing to see here.

That would be true for this project in downtown Louisville if it wasn’t taking place on founder and CEO Kaveh Zamanian’s Rabbit Hole Distillery campus in the NuLu district. It would also be true if architect Doug Pierson, AIA, and Youn Choi of pod architecture + design were not designing it.

Zamanian, Pierson, and Choi first put their heads together to create Rabbit Hole’s modern, predominately metal, 55,000-square-foot distillery, which the president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association has called “a modern monument to our historic industry.” (Rabbit Hole received the 2018 Grand Award from Modern Construction

For their latest collaboration, Zamanian’s clear vision fused with Pierson’s and Choi’s design moxie to give his idea form, function, and ample space to house three new 12,000-gallon fermentation tanks, allowing Rabbit Hole to expand its production of award-winning bourbon. Construction should begin in January 2021 and be complete by April 2021.

The tank expansion structure will be situated north of the blackened-wood louvers that surround Rabbit Hole’s “Manufacturing Atrium” where the main tank room and copper stills are located. Understanding the pedestrian nature of the NuLu neighborhood, they will position the 1100-square-foot structure to address both “Nanny Goat Strut’ and “Billy Goat Strut” alleys. Both alleys have been locally famous since the 1800s for the annual beer festival and goat races that take place there. Federal grants will soon fund a restoration of the area.

Pierson and Choi know Zamanian wants only imaginative design and finely crafted construction near his beloved distillery — a sentiment they share, of course — no matter how utilitarian its purpose or diminutive its size. They embrace his intent to respect and enrich Rabbit Hole’s hip, historic urban context.

To that end, they designed the tank expansion building as a transparent pavilion with perforated metal exterior panels that recall similar panels on the distillery. Passersby will be able to see inside.

“It will act as a kiosk-like structure that greets visitors from the Market Street greenway entrance as well as Nanny Goat Strut Alley,” Pierson explained. “It not only faces the alley but also improves it by adding landscaping and a green roof, lighting and security, and a contemporary, civic-like structure that entices people into the space.” 

And because the perforated panels will be illuminated from behind, Pierson and Choi believe the building will be a lantern in the dark at night for city pedestrians and for Rabbit Hole staff walking from the distillery’s Market Street entrance.

The small, modern building will also create an outdoor courtyard for distillery visitors and staff to enjoy.

Pierson and Choi will eventually hand the project off to Luckett & Farley, the Louisville-based Architect of Record.

For more information on pod architecture + design, visit podand.com. For more information on Rabbit Hole Distillery, go to rabbitholedistillery.com.

Chapel Hill Architect Tapped to Judge 2019 ‘Metal Construction News’ Awards

Doug P. 2019The editors of Metal Construction News (MCN), the premier national news magazine for the metal construction industry, have tapped North Carolina architect Doug Pierson, AIA, to serve as one of only three judges for their 2019 Building and Roofing Awards.

Pierson and his partner Youn Choi are co-owners and principals of pod architecture + design. Their Chapel Hill-based firm received the highest honor – Grand Winner — in MCN’s 2018 awards program for their design of the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole Distillery in downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

“Because that honor meant so much to us, I was incredibly honored when [Senior Editor] Mark Robins asked me to serve as a judge this year,” said Pierson, who is also a faculty member at NC State University’s College of Design.

Projects have been submitted to the Building and Roofing Awards in five categories: Metal Buildings, Metal Roofs/New, Metal Roofs/Retrofit, Metal Walls/New, and Metal Walls/Retrofit.

Pierson and the other two judges will receive the entries digitally on October 4th. On October 14 they will confer with the MCN staff to determine the best three submissions in each category and the 2019 Grand Winner. The judges may also suggest projects worthy of a “Judges’ Award.”

This is the 33rd year that Metal Construction News has showcased innovation and excellence in the metal construction industry through its awards program.

MCN is a Modern Trade Communications, Inc., publication. For more information, go to metalconstructionnews.com.

For more information on Doug Pierson and pod architecture + design, visit www.podand.com.

 

Leading Design Firms Team Up to Propose Elegant Concept for J.W. Rutledge Distillery

pod architecture + design, Luckett & Farley present scheme to investors at special event

During a special event held recently in downtown Louisville, KY, pod architecture + design (pod a+d) of Carrboro, NC, and Luckett & Farley architects and engineers of Louisville, presented a surprising concept for a modern, environmentally sustainable, mid-sized distillery to an assemblage of investors.

Designed for the event’s host, J.W. Rutledge Distillery of Middletown, KY, the 69,000-square-foot facility is intended for 140 picturesque acres of gently rolling grassland just outside Louisville. The architectural concept suggests an elegant, two-building composition linked by physical representations of various elements of the distilling process. In form and footprint, the concept engages the landscape and gently steps downward toward Floyd’s Fork, allowing the process of bourbon-making to flow naturally via gravity, from grain delivery all the way to barreling.

The distillery would also be oriented to convert the naturally occurring stillage (the byproduct of bourbon making) into energy via a biomass digester and to capture heating and cooling through a geothermal pond loop.

This innovative solution was designed by Douglas Pierson, AIA, and Youn Choi, pod a+d’s co-founders and Luckett & Farley’s President/CEO Aric Andrew and Vice President/Distilling Marketer Kyle Beasley. pod a+d and Luckett & Farley also worked together recently as architect and engineers, respectively, on the award-winning Rabbit Hole Distillery in downtown Louisville.

With a projected budget of $20-$25 million, Rutledge’s sustainable distillery will produce “World Class Bourbon and Rye whiskeys,” says Jim Rutledge, owner and multi-award-winning Master Distiller, on his website. “We will produce Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey the ‘old-fashioned way’ relative to the requisites, guidelines, and standards for Straight Whiskey production that have been in place for close to two centuries.”

“This one of a kind campus will engage a breathtaking site in a manner that honors an old-fashioned tradition done well while looking toward the future to thrive,” Pierson added.

The Investor Tasting Event took place in the Mint on Mellwood, a renovated industrial building in downtown Louisville. Investors enjoyed specialty bourbon and light refreshments while they discussed the proposed distillery with the J.W. Rutledge executive management team.

For more information on pod architecture + design: www.podand.com

For more information on Luckett & Farley: www.luckett-farley.com.

For more information on J.W. Rutledge Distillery: www.jwrutledgedistilleryllc.com.

RALEIGH MAGAZINE: “A Smooth Transition”

Blueplate PR client: Tonic Design

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by Jane Porter | photo by Keith Isaacs

When old design meets new, there’s often an element of surprise to the final result. For a residence in Raleigh’s Historic Cameron Park neighborhood, architect Katherine Hogan and designer Vinny Petrarca, the principals of Tonic Design, created an air of the unexpected that’s seamless and deferential, but also practical and beautiful, all at once. READ MORE

 

METAL CONSTRUCTION NEWS: “Dynamic Distillery” – Rabbit Hole takes the Grand Award

Blueplate PR client: pod architecture + design LLC

In the 2018 Metal Construction News Building & Roofing Awards

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By Mark Robins, Senior Editor

Form follows process. This is contemporary bourbon maker, founder and CEO of Rabbit Hole Distilling, Kaveh Zamanian’s vision for life and for his Rabbit Hole Distillery manufacturing building in downtown Louisville, Ky. This very modern, innovative 55,000-square-foot bourbon distillery, completed in July 2018, exemplifies this vision. The judges for the 2018 Metal Construction News Building and Roofing Awards were very impressed with both the distillery’s form and process, with two of them even saying that if they saw it from a distance while out driving, they would want to drive toward it to learn and see more about it.

“The Rabbit Hole Distillery project is a new contemporary building for a new bourbon manufacturing product in an otherwise traditional industry,” says Douglas V. Pierson, AIA, LEED APBD+C, co-founder/partner, architect and design principal at pod architecture + design, Carrboro, N.C. “A design strategy of transparency was our way of showcasing in a modern way the complex process of bourbon making for all to see, and, while standing on the shoulders of giants, ridding any expectations of secret recipes and obscure traditions.”  READ MORE

ARCHDAILY.com: “Piedmont Retreat/Tonic Design”

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Tzu Chen Photography

Wrapped in vertical stripes of Corten® steel street-side, with vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevered windows overlooking the forest behind it, a modern house sits quietly in the corner of a cul-de-sac in Durham.

Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vinny Petrarca of Tonic Design in Raleigh are responsible for this creative two-story, 3800-square-foot, single-family structure that will, as the steel continues to weather, blend into the natural setting and never need painting. Their clients loved the concept since they wanted a low-maintenance house with a modest public presence. READ MORE…

NC Architect To Conduct Construction Tour of Rabbit Hole Distillery for AIA Central Kentucky Chapter

Doug Pierson will take professional peers through his latest project in Louisville.

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Carrboro, NC-based architect Doug Pierson, AIA, of pod architecture + design (pod a+d) will conduct a construction tour of the new 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole distillery and campus he designed in downtown Louisville, KY, for the American Institute of Architects Central Kentucky Chapter on Tuesday, April 17, beginning at 5 p.m.

Rabbit Hole founder and CEO Kaveh Zamanian and structural/mechanical engineers from Luckett & Farley will join Pierson in giving participating architects “an overview of the inspirations, revelations, and explorations behind the Rabbit Hole distillery with the focus on structural/MEP systems, design excellence, and the user experience,” AIA Kentucky said in its invitation to members.

According to Pierson and his partner/wife Youn Choi, the design embraces the owner’s desire for transparency, as well as a “form follows process strategy, allowing the building to take shape in response to the bourbon production process it will house.

The abundance of glass throughout the building satisfies the desire for transparency – from the inside out and the outside in. Tours will let visitors see each step along the process of creating world-renowned bourbon. During the day, the transparent/translucent structure will provide panoramic views from the inside to NuLu’s historic streetscape, downtown Louisville’s main street, and the barges and bridges along the Ohio River.

Located on an entire city block at 711 East Jefferson Street in the historic NuLu district, Rabbit Hole Distilling is Louisville’s newest high-end craft distillery. Construction began in October 2016. The grand opening is scheduled for Derby Day, Wednesday, May 5th.

Pierson and Choi are well-known in Louisville for having designed the highly acclaimed “Green Building,” Louisville’s first commercial Platinum LEED-certified building and Kentucky’s first Platinum LEED adaptive reuse structure.

Click here for more information on the April Tour.

Click here for more information on Rabbit Hole Distilling.

Click here for more information on the Rabbit Hole Distillery project.

ARCHITECTS + ARTISANS: “In Louisville, Rabbit Hole Distillery”

By Mike Welton

When Saturday, May 5 rolls around in Louisville, Ky., there’ll be more to celebrate than the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby.

At the corner of Jefferson and Market Streets downtown, a new distillery called Rabbit Hole will hold its grand opening – with a Derby Day party.

“It’s a start-up – 60,000 square feet with fermenters and a couple of stills,” says architect Doug Pierson of Carrboro, N.C.-based pod architecture + design. “When opening day comes, they wanted to be ready to go – during construction, they started their process in a secret location.”

Pierson and his partner Youn Choi designed the distillery as a transparent affair, studying the path of bourbon-making from grain to barrel. “We developed the building around that, from the ground up, so people can see the whole process,” he says. “We said: ‘Form follows process.’” READ MORE

DESIGN MILK: “Venice House is a California House with a Sloping Trapezoidal Roof”

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By Caroline Williamson

Among the tightly packed lots in Venice, California, the Venice House is a three-story, energy-efficient residence topped off with a unique, sloping trapezoidal roof. The beach house was designed by pod architecture + design (pod a+d), who also happen to be the owners, and it spans 1390-square-feet, which proved challenging as they had to build three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths on a compact, 700-square-foot lot. They managed to accomplish that and then some within the white metal and wood clad abode. READ MORE…

Carrboro Architects To Complete $15 Million Project in Louisville before Derby Day

pod architecture+ design finishes eagerly anticipated Rabbit Hole Distillery.

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From their modest studio inside the old train depot on Main Street in Carrboro, award-winning architect Doug Pierson, AIA, partner/wife, designer Youn Choi, and their team at pod architecture + design are focused on making sure their $15 million project in Louisville, Kentucky – the 55,000-square-foot Rabbit Hole Distilling facility and campus — is finished by Kentucky Derby Day, May 5th.

Rabbit Hole is a Kentucky-based bourbon and whiskey distiller founded by Kaveh Zamanian in 2012. The new distillery is nearing completion now in the East Market District of downtown Louisville, better known these days as the very hip NuLu (New Louisville) neighborhood. It will have the capacity to produce around 20,000 barrels of whiskey annually.

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 In addition to the distillery, the Rabbit Hole campus includes retail and tour spaces, a 65-foot-high glass-enclosed atrium and event space with spectacular views of the city: an old, adaptively re-used church building, two bars; and a high-end $1.5 million restaurant and bar. Pierson designed the entire campus, including the restaurant.

“We didn’t come to the table with any set notions about form, floorplan, stylistic quality, or building materials,” said Pierson, who flies to Louisville once a week now. “We embraced the design strategy ‘form follows process,’ allowing the building to take shape in response to the bourbon production process it will house. So the building shares its design and purpose equally with the copper and steel equipment. That utilitarian yet distinctly beautiful equipment, the flow of the bourbon along the path from grain to bottle – the process itself became our inspiration.”

The facility has been under construction since late 2016. The distillery is expected to have a grand opening on Derby Eve.

A relative newcomer to the Triangle region, Doug Pierson and his wife and partner, Youn Choi, moved their firm and family from Los Angeles to North Carolina In the midst of the Rabbit Hole project.

Along with Pierson and Choi, the design team at pod a+d includes project architect Justin Williams and project associates Barbora Ngaboyamahina and Dougald Fountain.

For more information on pod a+d: www.podand.com.

For more information on the Rabbit Hole project: www.podand.com/work/#/new-gallery-3/.

 About pod architecture + design:

At pod a+d, we believe in the integration of architecture and all aspects of design to connect buildings + environment + identity. That’s why pod a+d is a hybrid firm, offering all architectural services, environmental design, experiential graphics, and wayfinding design. Exterior and interior architecture; furnishings and finishes; financial feasibility and scheduling; engineering and construction; and environmental graphics  –  considered simultaneously, these disciplines inform our hybrid/integrated approach to architecture.

Click here to visit the pod a+d website.

Click here to for more information on the design.

Click here to visit Rabbit Hole Distilling’s website.

A sampling of articles about Rabbit Hole Distilling/Distillery: