Integral is a large, state-of-the-art spinning & garment manufacturing plant. It is located near scenic Guilin in China’s Guangxi Province, in a wetland area that was damaged by a former brick factory.
In the past, textile and garment manufacturing was regarded as a traditional, low-tech processing industry characterised by stark, functional factory buildings and pollution emissions. Integral aims to change this negative impression.
Integral’s design artfully creates a place where people, technology and the natural environment co-exist in harmony. The ultimate goal is to turn this former manufacturing-led area into a new type of conservation-led development. While manufacturing is still Integral’s focus, the site also includes a botanic garden with natural dye crops, a wetland and eco-tourism functions, including an experience and learning centre which showcases the transformation of traditional labour-intensive manufacturing to a technologically-advanced process that respects workers and embraces the local culture.
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 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.
Even before ground was broken, this over-exploited site was intentionally left alone for a year to allow nature to begin its restoration work. When new plant life sprouted and flocks of egrets came to the site – this marked the true beginning of the project.
In terms of long-term impact, Integral reimagines how architecture, industry and nature can exist together. By combining technical advancement with sustainability and respect for nature and people, Integral is a pioneering model of how the industry can create harmony and balance between nature and humanity while also ensuring the industrial advancement of society.