Located on a bluff overlooking the Kentucky River, the visitor center is the newest component of recent additions & expansions to the Wild Turkey Bourbon Distillery complex, one of seven original member distilleries of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The 9,140-square-foot facility houses interactive exhibits, a gift shop, event venues, a tasting room, and administrative offices. In concert with a major rebranding program that caters to both longtime devoted fans and a growing legion of new bourbon enthusiasts, the project employs a design direction that is both familiar and new — bridging tradition and innovation through an immersive environment of contrasts and dualities.
Utilizing a simple barn silhouette (an interpretation of Kentucky tobacco barns common to the area), the building presents a clear and recognizable marker at the scale of the landscape. Clad in a chevron pattern of stained wood plank siding, the simplicity of the barn form is contrasted by the intricacy of the building skin, creating a shifting sense of scale and tactility that is deliberately both simple and complex. Alternating zones of opaque and light-filtering lattice blur the boundaries between inside/out and solid/void. By night, the dark structure transforms into a delicate, glowing lantern of filigree perched above the river.
Internally, the building is organized along a ramped, split-level public promenade that culminates in an elevated tasting room overlooking the Kentucky River (the bourbon's base water source). In a nod to the nearby bridges spanning the river, a wooden trestle element provides a physical spine from which the various programmatic elements are reached.