Being built on the outskirts of the Botswanan capital city near the Kalahari Desert, the three-fingered block will house offices and laboratories for several government departments as well as space for international and local technology companies.

The central, tallest block, which reaches four stories and is stepped down to two, will contain the majority of the innovation hub’s shared amenities, including a 250-seat auditorium and bar.

Botswana Innovation Hub and HIV Research Lab, Gaborone, Botswana, by SHoP Architects 

The main occupant will be the country’s Ministry of Health, which will create a 4,650-square-metre HIV research lab in collaboration with US universities Baylor, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania.

The two-storey southern block will contain offices along with a business school.

SHoP Architects and Nutall Smith designed the Botswana Innovation Hub to function within the desert’s demanding heat. Its roof will have large overhangs to passively shade the building and these overhangs are repeated in the facade’s deep articulation to maximise shading on the building’s lower levels.

The roof will contain a combination of vegetated areas designed in collaboration with GREENinc, which are planted with local and drought-tolerant species so should need no watering, photovoltaic panels and rainwater harvesting systems.

According to the studio, these systems will offset around half of the building’s operational energy costs.

Botswana Innovation Hub and HIV Research Lab, Gaborone, Botswana, by SHoP Architects