Last summer, we shared SHoP’s 270,000 sqf office and research building for Botswana, Africa, a winning proposal that surpassed 17 international competitors. The Innovation Hub is a huge investment for the Botswanan government as an attempt to diversify its ecomony which is primarily based upon diamond extraction to move toward a more “knowledge-based economy.” A lot is at stake for this $50 million project. With thousands of sqf of office space to fill, many wonder if the building and its location can attract the latest researchers; yet, SHoP’s initiative to create an environmentally friendly haven attempts to do just that. “The goal was to create an incubator to invite new startups and other companies into Botswana,” says SHoP principal William Sharples, “and get the country into another economic line besides just diamonds.”
More about the project after the break.
Situated in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital, SHoP’s Hub features “an energy blanket” roofscape – a system that combines passive and active systems – to achieve the country’s first LEED certification. 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 creates a opportunity for group collaboration and exploration. “They’ve never done a sustainable building in Botswana. It’s going to be very new,” Sharples told FastCoDesign. “We’re bringing in new technology, and we’re showing how we use digital technology to design and manage the design process.”
“This is sexy stuff — sexy enough, the hope goes, to attract outsiders to what’s effectively the middle of corporate-nowhere,” explained Suzanna Labarre for the FastCoDesign.
“We don’t know who the end-users will be. We have very guarded optimism about the project. Though there does seem to be an interest. And they have already spent a significant chunk of money on the infrastructure, so they’re going to move forward on this. I believe they’re going to get the investment they need,” continued Sharples.
The project is a super important addition to Botswana and we applaud the government’s efforts of investing in research. We hope Bostwana benefits from this shft and that great research can be conducted under this amazing green roof.