The Land of Giants is about to welcome another titan. Now with an ambitious building that blends with the earth in a dynamic, futuristic architectural style, it is set to attract international organizations with the country’s first LEED certified building in the outskirts of Gabarone.
The Botswana Innovation Hub is a large investment by the government to diversify its economy which is primarily based upon diamond extraction to move toward high end IT. This is the way forward, for even agriculture cannot sustain their economy with 70% of the land under the Kalahari Desert. The first phase of the project is complete, and phase two, which is the construction of the building began early in 2013.
The sinous structure will be visible from the air as you arrive into the country. Located near the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, the BIH includes an impressive and stylish 73,000-square meter building and facilities for startup business. It is also hoped to turn Botswana into a knowledge-based economy that is technology driven through promoting a culture of creativity, and targets various education institutions and corporates. Notable companies include SAP Business One who will help it better manage processes and ensure greater visibility for its business operations.
An icon to Botswana’s support for innovation and entrepreneurship, it will portray the standard for knowledge creation and innovation in the region. The facility will provide a haven for 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 center and engineering floors.
The client’s brief specified for an iconic yet timeless building which employed the most advanced green technology available. The product of this dialogue was an ‘energy blanket’: a massive green roof for the innovation hub, which incorporates large overhangs to passively shade the building’s interior volumes. Away from thermal comfort, it boasts mechanisms that collect and re-use water, and both passive and active photovoltaic systems to harness solar energy.
With bridges connecting the four main volumes, and green spaces on different levels, the project seeks to encourage interaction between different tenant companies. SHoP calls these zones “breakout spaces”, which will create an opportunity for group collaboration and exploration. The building will bring in new technology, and will be a display of how digital technology can be used to design and manage the design process.
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