On the outskirts of Botswana’s capital and largest city, Gabarone, the country’s first LEED certified building is underway. The Botswana Innovation Hub designed by New York-based Shop Architects is a response Botswana’s decision to diversify its economy from predominantly diamonds to a more knowledge-based, IT driven system promoting a culture of creativity through various educational institutions and corporations.

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Covering 73 000sqm, and located near the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, the development seeks to be an icon to Botswana’s support for innovation and entrepreneurship, that will set the standard for knowledge creation and innovation in the region. It 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 building’s peculiar massing and facade are inspired by the culturally significant dune and delta of Botswana. These elements are the basis for the design concept, its fluid form and landscape features. Here’s how SHoP Architects describe it,

The Innovation Hub 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.

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[via archidatum]

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