SHoP Innovates for Botswana

The Botswana Development Corporation (BDC) has selected SHoP Architects to design a new Innovation Hub for the country, in the capital city of Gabarone. In response to a design competition announced last year by the BDC, 17 leading international firms—Foster + Partners, Perkins+Will, and Gensler among them—sent in entries. The SHoP proposal won for its “innovativeness, environmental sustainability, functionality and cost-effectiveness.”

This will, after all, be an Innovation Hub—a 270,000-square-foot office building and research facility for tech-driven and knowledge-based businesses. SHoP’s design fits the brief perfectly, using the most cutting-edge sustainable technologies, including a concept called the “Energy Blanket Roofscape.”

The roof of the Innovation Hub will blend into the topography of the site. Its massive overhangs will shade the interiors from the blazing Botswana sun, while photovoltaic systems will harness that abundant solar energy. Roof gardens will also collect and filter rainwater. SHoP predicts that the combination of these technologies will offset at least half the building’s operational energy costs.

The Innovation Hub plans to establish Botswana as a leading research and development destination for Africa, and with the state-of-the-art SHoP building, it is hoping to set the tone for sustainable architecture as well.

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