The LaunchPad is a self sufficient prototype computer lab created by Perkins+Will along with Infinite Family to allow people in Africa communicate with their mentors via face-to-face interaction. The high-tech lab is made inside a repurposed 40-feet shipping container that comes with a plethora of eco friendly credentials.
The wall of the lab is made using recycled water bottles that also serve as a thermal mass to provide cooling inside the lab. The solar-shading canopy reduces heat gain from direct sunlight and further reduces the need for artificially cooling the interior space. The canopy can also be fitted with solar panels to produce much needed electricity in a clean way. The windows of the lab have been strategically placed for optimum orientation to the sun to help provide natural daylight and ventilation.
To reduce energy consumption the developing team has used laptops instead of desktop computers. The structure comes with a battery-powered power back-up system, which enables the structure to operate off-the-grid for unpredictable periods of time. The first lab has been operational near Johannesburg in South Africa with a five year plan to open 100 LaunchPad labs that can serve a total of about 11,000 mentees a year.