Within the European project SOLABS (Development of unglazed coloured solar absorbers) a novel performing unglazed metal collector has been developed, using a coloured absorber and with special focus on the architectural integration of the solar system. The paper first describes the criteria leading the architectural integration quality, as recorded by a large European survey. It describes the design methodology applied to develop a collector facilitating the building integration, satisfying the aesthetic expectations of the users, but also responding to energy production needs and to cost requirements. An analysis of the formal characteristics of the resulting collector design is presented, in relation to the integration criteria and to the specific users’ wishes recorded by the survey. Finally, two simulations of collector integration in existing buildings are presented and compared to the original solar system integrations. Keywords: building integration, thermal collector, unglazed, colour, SOLABS.