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The Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone by Shop Architects Nears Completion

International Architecture practice SHoP Architects in collaboration with Gaborone based Nuttall Smith Architects recently released a set of images showing the Botswana innovation hub and HIV research laboratory nearing completion in Botswana’s Capital City.

The complex is divided into three interconnected wings separated by a series of lush courtyard spaces. Inside will comprise offices and laboratories for several government departments as well as space for international and local technology companies. The design incorporates both passive and active building systems, in addition to landscaping at both the roof canopy and ground-level—strategies that have made it Botswana’s first LEED-certified project.

As seen on the architect’s website, The Botswana Innovation Hub is the cornerstone of a national program to support the growth of technology-driven research and entrepreneurship. Located where the capital, Gaborone, meets the Kalahari Desert, the Botswana Innovation Hub will house a wide range of initiatives in technology incubation, education, and scientific research. To encourage mentorship, the Hub also makes space for the local offices of a number of international tech companies. When completed, facilities will include a full range of creative workspaces and laboratories in an ecologically responsive and environmentally sensitive complex.

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To realize this ambitious project under demanding logistical constraints, SHoP deployed select teams to live in Gaborone and work on-site with our local partners. With strong stakeholder collaboration, they deployed a full range of digital modeling and visualization technologies, both in-house and 3rd party. Clash detection and other construction management functions are also being achieved in the field via an iPhone-accessible 3D database hosted in New York.

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The design and delivery of the building envelope is a landmark project in the development of fully automated, paperless, direct-to-fabrication construction techniques. The self shading facade which is the scheme’s most prominent feature comprises about one million parts. There are 3,000 panel units with 1,700 unique panel types; all are approximately 1200mm wide and reach depths of over 2m and heights of 4m. The units are divided into 60 separate “families” or templates, each containing 500 similar panel types. The panel substructures are fixed, via a series of integrated clips, at the window wall or at the slab edge of the structural wall or steel canopy.

Following fabrication in Cape Town, South Africa, the panels were shipped approximately 900 miles north to the project site, where, in the parking garage beneath the Botswana Innovation Hub structure, the general contractor and facade installer oversaw their final assembly. Each of the prepackaged panels arrived with detailed step-by-step instructions in the form of axonometric diagrams

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