dant crossing project spotlight: dean architecture
The Log Still Distillery Tasting Room provides an immersive experience for visitors traveling to bourbon country. It’s contemporary, yet full of history, and bridges the legacy of its past to its modern future. The glass curtain walls frame views to the surrounding campus, while the exposed steel and glulam structure, tongue and groove interior wood siding, and hand-hewn wood stair treads all add to the warm and inviting atmosphere.
Dean Architecture located in Ridgeland, Mississippi is a third-generation architectural firm that takes pride in the fact that a large percentage of its workload comes from repeat clients with Log Still Distillery being one of them.The design team consisted of Principal-In-Charge Tim Geddie, AIA, ASID, Architect John Dant, AIA, and Architect Taylor Poole, AIA. The team has been on campus since we broke ground, designing and building multiple amenities on campus, but we’ll start with the very first project, the Tasting Room.
John Dant, Project Architect for the Dant Crossing campus, also happens to be part of the Dant family tree. “The project started in May 2019 during our family reunion weekend when I visited the site with Wally, walked through the old distillery and he told me his ‘vision’ and ideas on revitalizing the old distillery site,” said John. Shortly after that, the team started design collaboration on the site and buildings. “A lot has happened in just two years!” he said.
The Dean Architecture team had never designed other tasting rooms or distilleries before, but they have been up to the challenge since the day they started. “It was not only about the challenge of working on something new architecturally, but with the resurgence of the bourbon industry and bourbon trail, there was another level of enthusiasm,” said John.
When it came to the inspiration of the Tasting Room there seemed to have been no shortage. According to Taylor Poole, that was one of the many great aspects of the project. “The architecture and history of the original distillery grounds, the distilling process itself, and of course bourbon all served as inspiration for the design,” Poole said. To anchor the Tasting Room, a new building to our historic campus, they used an existing building original to the old distillery as the inspiration for the footprint, form, and location of the Tasting Room.
The footprint is minimal, but the large expanses of the glass curtain and the kinetic bifold walls open and expand the footprint. There’s thoughtful reasoning behind the colors and the textures. The dark metal exterior amplifies the warm wood interior to mimic the look and feel of a rickhouse. Sustainable glulam trusses and exposed wood roof decking recall the construction of bourbon barrels.
“Through material and scale, the Tasting Room responds to the rural Kentucky architecture and distilling history of its past, while creating a vibrant, sustainable, and modern facility that is both inviting to visitors and yet familiar to locals,” said Poole. “Barrels are used inside the main entrance to display how they are stored in a rickhouse, as well as to filter the southern sunlight as it enters the building. The kinetic bifold wall on the south side of the Tasting Room is on axis with the amphitheater to provide visual connection as well as walk-up bar access to patrons. Solar orientation, views of the water tower, and distillery building all informed the location and scale of the glass curtain wall. Four-inch-thick hand-hewn treads are bolted to cantilevered steel plates to make up the grand stair, which in turn helps the exterior envelope of the building to emphasize the movement of people throughout the facility and site” he said.
We have enjoyed watching this space come to life and seeing the many visitors come from all over the world to try our special products and to get a glimpse of our slice of bourbon country. It appears the Dean Architecture team have enjoyed this project just as much as we have. “The most important and enjoyable part about this project is being a part of this Dant family venture,” said John. “Wally has trusted us and allowed us to push the design envelope which makes it exciting as an architect” he said. We are thankful for the Dean Architecture team and we can’t wait to watch our campus expand into the vision awaiting.