The Botswana Innovation Hub is set to be located on a 57 hectare veldt (wide open space in Africa) outside of Gaborone. 270,000 square feet of office and laboratory space will be provided for technology and knowledge-intensive foreign and local businesses, as well as research and advanced training institutes. An AIDS research center has already expressed interest in having space inside the campus, which is being designed less as a business park and more as a community with interconnecting bridges, communal parks and meeting areas.
SHoP Architects won an international competition to design the campus and is including a slew of green strategies in hopes of achieving LEED certification. Botswana, to date, has no green buildings, so this center would be an innovation for the country in itself and help show what is possible. The hub is composed of a series of long slender buildings that reach out into the open land and are covered with a concept SHoP calls the “Energy Blanket” roofscape, which combines passive and active sustainable energy techniques. Large overhangs will passively shade the building’s interior volumes and photovoltaics collect the sun’s energy. The building will be covered by a large xeriscaped roof garden planted with indigenous species that collects rainwater for reuse. Overall the green strategies will realize a 50% energy savings over US ASHRAE building standards.
This project for the Botswana Development Corporation is expected to cost $50 million. Botswana hopes that this new center will help them move beyond its diamond and beef industry into a league with other developed countries.
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