The Botswana Innovation Hub, by SHoP Architects, will be an iconic symbol of Botswana’s support for research and development, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship and acting as a nexus for knowledge creation and innovation. The client’s brief was for an iconic yet timeless building which employed the most advanced green technology available. With this in mind SHoP’s design uses a variety of sustainable techniques, including a concept SHoP deems the ‘Energy Blanket’ roofscape, which combines passive and active sustainable energy techniques.
The roof design of the Botswana Innovation Hub incorporates large overhangs to passively shade the building’s interior volumes, mechanisms to collect and re-use water, and both passive and active photovoltaic systems to harness solar energy. The facility includes a HIV Research Lab run by the Ministry of Health in partnership with Baylor, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a data centre and engineering floors.
The hub hopes to turn Botswana into a knowledge-based economy that is technology driven through promoting a culture of creativeness, and targets various education institutions and corporates.
With over 270,000 square feet and costs projected at $50 million, the Botswana Information Hub is ambitious on many levels, both literally and figuratively. The winner of an international competition, the SHoP-designed research campus brings green technology to the Gaborone, Botswana.
The sinuous structure merges into the landscape, with various levels seeming to kinetically lift from the earth. An “energy blanket” roofscape blends solar and water re-use systems into the sweeping composition.
The cultural significance of the dune and delta to Botswana have been embraced in the design of the iconic building. These were conceptual drivers from the inception of the project. The embodied characteristics of these landscape features have remained visible and prominent in the form of the project, most notably with the building massing, the façade expression and the landscape planning.
A vegetated roof will be planted with indigenous and drought tolerant plants that are low to no maintenance and do not require irrigation. The visual appearance of the roof will change with the seasons as will the surrounding landscape. The indigenous planting encourages biodiversity, saves water and reduces maintenance costs.
Inside, cafes and lounges will provide opportunities for informal encounters and encourage creative collaboration. Landscaped amenity gardens, sheltered from the climate by cooling roofscape and bridges, will provide all-season gathering space outdoors.
It is hoped that the building will be a catalyst for other developments.