World’s best industrial architecture for 2016: Factory in the Earth, Johor

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This is part of an ExpatGo editorial series featuring creative architecture in Malaysia and around Southeast Asia. 

Factory in the earth
Photo credit: Arch Daily

The architecture community have come up with a list of the best buildings of the year for 2016 as curated by the architectural blog Arch Daily, and Malaysia has made the list! Arch Daily have awarded the best industrial architecture 2016 to the Factory in the Earth in Johor.

Just looking at that photo, I never would have guessed that this beautiful and green industrial building is located right here in Malaysia, given that we seem so driven to increase industrial productivity but rarely take time to implement eco-friendly technology or designs to our buildings. Hopefully, this win will inspire more ‘green’ architecture in Malaysia.

Factory in the Earth

This 25,000+ square meter extension of a current factory is built on reclaimed land in Johor. The idea behind this design, according to the architect, is to harness the power of nature to create an environmentally sustainable factory and minimise carbon emissions.

Factory in the earth rainbow
Photo credit: Arch Daily

Leaving nothing to waste, the Factory in the Earth has a rainwater collection system in which rainwater from the rooftop is drained into a tank underground and the water is then used to water the plants in and around the building. There is also a solar panel on the roof as a source of green energy and a wall of green leaves that grown down a sort of net on the outside of the building, giving it a pleasant nature-friendly facade. The building is also designed to reflect natural light into the building which reduces the need for harsh artificial lighting.

The architects

Bamboo hut
Photo credit:

The architects behind this ingenious design are Ryuichi Ashizawa Architect & Associates, who spent a year and half coming up with and finalising the plans for this building. Construction took about a year and a half, and was completed in mid-2013.

Ryuichi Ashizawa is a Japanese architect who has designed a number of spectacular structures, buildings and houses with an eco-friendly twist such as the Bamboo Hut for the Aqua Metropolis Osaka 2009 or a house with a sharing roof garden.

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Photos courtesy of of Arch Daily.

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