By Candace Sofianos King | Photos by SHoP Architects

The African continent is set to welcome the Botswana Innovation Hub, a soon-to-be iconic symbol of support for research and development in Botswana.

Nestled in the heart of Gaborone, the Botswana Innovation Hub will soon act as a beacon in supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, operating as a nexus for knowledge creation and advancement.

The Botswana Development Corporation’s Innovation Hub was designed by SHoP Architects of New York after winning an international competition to design the campus. The facility includes an HIV Research Lab run by the Ministry of Health in partnership with Baylor, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a data centre and engineering floors.

Technologically green

a.b.e. Construction Chemicals supplied the polyurea waterproofing for the roof of one of the buildings of the Botswana Innovation Hub.

The client’s brief was for an iconic yet timeless building which employs the most advanced green technology available. With this in mind, SHoP’s design uses a variety of sustainable techniques which combines passive and active sustainable energy techniques.

The complex features a collection of long slender buildings that reach out into the open land and are covered with a concept SHoP calls an ‘Energy Blanket’ roofscape that incorporates 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. The roofs – that collect rainwater for reuse – are covered by roof gardens that boast indigenous species.

The VIP treatment

a.b.e. Construction Chemicals supplied large volumes of polyurea coating for the waterproofing of an expansive roof of one of the new buildings forming part of the campus. Part of the Chryso Southern Africa Group, a.b.e. holds an exclusive agreement with Voelkel Industrie Produkte (VIP) in Germany for the sale and distribution of the company’s respected range of protective coatings and joint fillers in southern Africa.

Noel Abendroth, a.b.e. high performance coatings solutions manager, says VIP QuickSeal PP350, a pure polyurea that offers exceptionally high tensile strength, was applied on the

The Botswana Innovation Hub was designed by SHoP Architects.

26 000m² concrete roof of one of the buildings that form part of the ‘iconic symbol of Botswana’s support for research and development and promotion of innovation and entrepreneurship’.

The waterproofing of the roof – that will accommodate one of the Innovation Hub’s characteristic roof gardens – was handled initially by Hiremore Civils from Botswana and later by a.b.e.’s approved applicator, Diamond Linings.

A solid waterproofing solution

Recently launched locally, VIP’s QuickSeal PP350 is a spray-applied, instant curing flexible membrane that can be built to any thickness in one application, in virtually all environmental climates – extreme weather conditions including heat, cold and humidity do not affect curing time or physical performance of the product.

“VIP QuickSeal PP350 provides flexible, seamless, hard-wearing substrate protection for a wide range of substrates. Its rapid spray application and instant curing characteristics enable shorter shutdown times than traditional glue,” says Abendroth.

VIP QuickSeal PP350 features:

  • Extremely fast application time;
  • Tack-free in seconds – it can even be walked on within minutes;
  • High elongation at break;
  • No need for protector boards during back filling; and
  • High abrasion resistance and excellent thermal stability.