Integral is a one-of-a-kind “industrial eco-garden” located in scenic Guilin in China’s Guangxi Province. The site of this large, state-of-the-art spinning and garment manufacturing plant is an area that was once marred by the operations of a brick factory in the past.
Integral’s design is a triumph of sustainability. Using a conservation-led development philosophy, RLP’s design team artfully restored the natural beauty of the damaged area, created a place where people, technology and the natural environment can co-exist in harmony. While manufacturing is still Integral’s focus, the site also includes a botanic garden with traditional natural dye crops, and eco-tourism functions, including an experience and learning centre.
Guilin’s unique landscape features and contexts – reflection, layering, colours, and textures – are tactfully revealed in the building massing and envelope design. The building clusters were thoughtfully designed to co-exist and create a dialogue with the re-created natural landscape. The architectural design language was also inspired by the local culture and materials and includes distinctive local blue bricks and bamboo panels. Before ground was broken, the site was intentionally left alone for a year to allow nature to begin its restoration work.
Integral reimagines how architecture, industry and nature can exist together over the long term. By combining technical advancement with sustainability, respect for nature and human-centricity, Integral is a pioneering model of how industry can create harmony and balance between nature and humanity while also ensuring the industrial advancement of society.