At this year's Ecobuild Conference in London, GWP Architecture and Thomas Heatherwick's amazing Bombay Sapphire's Laverstoke Mill distillery was awarded the highly prestigious BREEAM Award for industrial design. The London-based team began renovating the abandoned 18th century paper mill in 2012, and it was just recognized as a leading example of environmentally-conscious architecture.
Located in rural Hampshire, UK, the historic paper mill printed banknote paper for the Bank of England and British Empire for over 225 years and is currently registered as a Conservation Area and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). In 2013, Laverstoke Mill’s multi-million pound restoration became the first distillery and first refurbishment to achieve BREEAM’s ‘Outstanding’ design-stage accreditation. During the renovation process, the 2,500 square meter distillery was equipped with various renewable energy systems. This dedication to an environmentally forward renovation process resulted in a 100 percent score in the Energy and Management sections and 90 percent in the Water, Materials and Waste sections of the BREEAM award for industrial design.
Bombay Sapphire’s Master Distiller at Laverstoke Mill, Nik Fordham describes the company’s strong dedication to sustainable building practices, “Sustainability is vitally important to Bombay Sapphire and has underpinned all of our plans for the distillery. As such, we were delighted to win the 2014 BREEAM Award for Industrial Design. BREEAM has kept sustainability high up on the agenda and has provided a benchmarking mechanism that feeds into our corporate sustainability policy and key performance indicators. Fundamentally, we also believe building such a sustainable distillery makes financial sense, increasing efficiency and long term operational energy and water use savings. GWP Architecture, working with Meller Ltd, has been instrumental in delivering such a state-of-the-art, sustainable distillery. Everyone involved in this inspirational project should be extremely proud of their involvement”.
Adhering to the project’s strong environmental focus, the distillery was renovated with numerous repurposed building materials where original parts were not able to be restored and reused, and new materials used in the project were responsibly sourced. In terms of ecological features, one of the most arduous steps of the project included relocating 400 fish by hand and creating provisions for the local bat colonies and a bevy of otters. Additionally, Heatherwick Studio designed the massive bulbous glasshouse in order to house a variety of native plants, including 10 ten exotic botanicals that are infused into Bombay Sapphire gins.