Print this page

Charles Doig - Architect

Elgin architect Charles Doig, was famous for designing the pagoda roof.

The 'Pagoda Roof' is a malt whisky distillery's most instantly recognisable feature. Take it away, and you don't seem to have a distillery any more. It would be like having a French vineyard without a chateau.

It was as recently as the 1890s that these steeply-pitched roofs with the pagoda caps started to appear above the square-built kilns of malt distilleries. They are, basically, very attractive chimneys. Their height and the design of the vent at the top allowed an improved draught for the peat fires below as they dried the malted barley.

Traditional malt kilns draw the hot air from the peat furnace through the malt by way of a chimney effect generated by the characteristic steep roofs and pagoda heads of many Scottish distilleries. The pagoda roof was introduced around the 1890s as it offered an improved air draught.

In most cases, where most distilleries buy in their malt they have mostly lost their function other than a piece of visual identity.